and it won’t be wordless. Of course.
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:
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…