White-daffodil Wednesday…


and it won’t be wordless. Of course.

white trumpet

Every year my daffodils – broadly; this tends to be weather-dependent – follow a sort of succession plan.

First come the big yellows; next are the smaller double yellows, then the frothier yellows (I haven’t many of those due to the fact that their heads and stems don’t match, and heavy heads on spindly stems stand no chance in this garden). As they fade, the white-trumpeted daffs come in, then the white-petalled exotica,


and then the ‘true’ narcissi.


Some years they all bunch up, but this isn’t one of them, much to my surprise. I’d assumed that the weather and the slow start to the season would give me a real  mix, like last year, but no – and the result is that the meadow now looks rather more refined and elegant than it did last year. Well, it would look rather more refined and elegant if it wasn’t for all the yellow-daff foliage dying back. If I’m honest, I must admit that dying-back daffodils were one of the reasons for developing the meadow in the first place – they look horrible on a well-behaved lawn. Not that I do well-behaved lawns. I do well-behaved moss.

And then I fell in love with whites. It’s no good; apart from the poet’s eyes and the Old Pheasant’s Eyes above, both of which I deliberately bought for their astonishing scent, I have no idea what any of them are. Some I inherited, but others have come in miscellaneous collections. I really must be more organised – what on earth is that second one, for instance?

That’s this one, which is a bit like Cheerfulness, but much bigger and not multi-headed:


and with an almost-metallic sparkle or sheen to the white petals. That’s a characteristic that is shared by quite a lot of the whites, but I’ve never seen it so obvious as it is on this variety (it’s quite hard to photograph, grr). I’ve now got two clumps of it, and absolutely no recollection of splitting either of them. Sometimes I think I have gardening brownies – the fairies, not a troupe of small girls belonging to a paramilitary organisation – who come and move things about in the night.

They can do that all they want; it will save me some shifting. I do need to split some clumps this year, notably of the white trumpets which have become somewhat overcrowded quite suddenly. I also cut the skirt of a huge skimmia back last summer (a lot more of it is coming out this year, and not coming out in a telling-its-parents-something-they-always-suspected sort of way, but in a giant crowbar, physical violence, chainsaw and bonfire sort of way), which revealed even more clumps:

pretty pretties

They’re a wee bit tatty, possibly due to the shock of sudden exposure to the full intensity of the weather, but they’ll get used to life in the light. I wonder if they were flowering their socks off all these years? I suspect they were simply producing lots of leaves, but whatever was going on undercover, I’m glad they’re visible now.


The thing is, once you have a good selection of white daffs, you also have an irresistible desire to add more – or I do, anyway. I’ve been poring over last autumn’s edition of Blom’s bulb catalogue wondering what might be in it this year, and where I might slot a few more in. OK, shoehorn a few more in, in addition to the ones I have to split and the ones I am moving up from elsewhere in the garden. There’s this patch, you see, which is a little lighter on the daffs…

I think I need a specialised twelve-step programme. Now. Or at the very latest, before Blom’s catalogue for spring 2014 comes through my letterbox in about August. Help…


24 Comments Add yours

  1. Christina says:

    What is very interesting, and I do it too, is that when something really works for you – off we go planning to do it more, in more places with more of the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lovely, Christina

    1. kate says:

      Oh phew, glad it’s not just me!

  2. Cathy says:

    Giant skimmias, whatever next?! Who knows what else could be lurking under overgrown shrubs – dragons perchance?! Lovely daffodils, by the way – I haven’t any white ones to check the sparkly notion though.

    1. kate says:

      That’s where the dragon lives – another mystery solved…. Alas, all that grows under there is a few crisp wrappers, the occasional broken toy and one pink child’s croc. Another reason to remove it, apart from the fact that it is growing visibly. A sort of shrub triffid.

      You definitely need some white daffs. Everyone needs white daffs. Er, not that I’m biased.

  3. Anna says:

    The white daffies are my favourites Kate and ‘Thalia’ my favourite of them all 🙂 Somehow I think that resistance is futile.

    1. kate says:

      I’ve just googled Thalia and I need them! Lots of them! NOW!
      (There’s a word for people like you. Let me see… ‘enabler’….)

  4. lovely daffs Kate, I like the white ones and I also like the yellow, not keen on the squashed trumpet ones, I have some from a multi bag, Frances

    1. kate says:

      Those multibags are soooo tempting, but I’m trying to resist and be a little more systematic in the future. Bet that doesn’t last!

  5. Pauline says:

    Love white daffodils, we have lots of Thalia everywhere, but could still do with more, does one ever have enough.! Another nice white one with a small orange trumpet is Geranium, this has a nice perfume too.

    1. kate says:

      That sounds lovely – I’ve googled that too. My shopping list is getting longer…

  6. Harriet says:

    Thank you for commenting on my latest post. I lost google chrome and all my favourites recently so couldn’t find you but now I’ve got you back!! Love your white daffs. And your meadow is looking so pretty.

    1. kate says:

      Hi Harriet – what a disaster (I had a similar thing with an old laptop, and I’m hoping it taught me a lesson about back ups, but it probably didn’t)…

      My poor white daffs are right now being splattered into the ground. The world is possibly ending. Wonder if it is backed up?

  7. wellywoman says:

    Absolutely gorgeous. I planted lots last autumn and we’ve been reaping the benefits the last couple of weeks. I just hope the stormy weather that has arrived doesn’t flatten everything.

    1. kate says:

      Aren’t they yummy? I’m definitely going after Pauline and Anna’s recommendations for next year…

      This storm is horrible. I’m avoiding the side garden where the tulips are. Sort of Schrordinger’s tulips – if I can’t see them, I don’t know whether they’re alive or dead. Though I may have my suspicions. Damn.

  8. I am so glad to find someone else with a love of daffodils. I started off with a determination to have only lots and lots of obvallaris and Thalia. Now I seem to have acquired lots and lots of February Gold, Sweetness, Pheasants Eye and Actaea too. I also bought Pueblo which I love and Jenny which I am not so keen on. If you love whites you must have Thalia. It is just fab.

    1. kate says:

      You’re my third swallow – now I HAVE to get Thalia!

  9. hillwards says:

    What a lovely selection – I too love that sparkle on white narcissus petals, like fairy-dust! My new white this year is the late-flowering Petrel, which is trying its hardest to keep its head above these raging storms. Will hopefully manage some photos this week…

    1. kate says:

      Isn’t it gorgeous? And Petrel too – another one for my list. Mind you, at the moment I think planting any would be tantamount to cruelty. We’re back in flipping winter…

  10. I find myself loving the white narcissi more and more Maybe it is to go with my hair?! Except that I cover that up… Bloms catalogue… OK, will need to check that out, since I definitely need lots – and lots – of bulbs this autumn. Life is way too short for restraint in the bulb planting department, I am sure you have room for loads more, particularly if you take a crowbar-chainsaw-bonfire approach to a couple of other shrubs…

    1. kate says:

      Oh, you need that Blom’s catalogue. My front-door tulips were disappointing this year (that’s probably because I bought them cheap in Wilkinson’s), so I’ve an excuse which is actually valid for perusing it. I’ll have to make up the order with something else, won’t I?

      1. Well you have to make the order worth the delivery charge, don’t you… I wonder when they bring their catalogue out?!

        1. kate says:

          Soon, is the answer – but I may be switching loyalty to Peter Nyssen. Smaller bulbs, but check out their prices…

        2. Mmm, lots of people seem to use Peter Nyssen… Well, it feels like Autumn (or possibly winter) so why not start a bulb order…

        3. kate says:

          Their website’s not actually open for autumn orders until 1 June – but you can assemble a wish list… Mine is ENORMOUS. Damn…

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