Daft about daffs! Narcissus collection at Trevarno Gardens, Cornwall

Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

During a visit to Trevarno gardens in May 2010 I had a taste of the potential of their daffodil collection. I found a large field, neatly divided into well-labelled rows of narcissi. Unfortunately they were rather battered by age and wind, and only a few were still carrying their blooms so late in the season. So I determined to return the following year to see the display in full, golden glory.

And that’s exactly what I did today. A brilliantly blue Cornish spring sky greeted me, along with a brisk breeze to ensure I didn’t overheat. On arrival I ignored the other pleasures of Trevarno (the boathouse on the lake and secret shaded paths, though I do wish they’d sort out the sorry old greenhouses in the walled garden) and made my way straight to the back field. Puffing my way up the slight incline to the daffodil field I suddenly caught sight of a streak of yellow. Not quite as dramatic the tapestry of yellow fields throughout the county at this time of year, but thrilling in its own right. Row upon row of daffodils greeted me. I didn’t count, but there must have been at least 25 rows, each with a minimum 15 varieties.

They were sorted broadly into alphabetical order, so you had the pleasure of discovering the different forms right from the start. Starry little clusters of white flowers greeted me on Tazetta daffs such as Narcissus ‘Avalanche’, while the blousy yellow of the more traditional Trumpet style flowers erupted with cultivars like N. ‘Spellbinder’. It was like a sweet shop with so many jars you hardly knew where to start looking, let alone what to choose!

I spent a most enjoyable couple of hours walking among the daffodils, photographing those who would stay still for a moment (darn that cooling breeze!) and just enjoying the rest. A steady stream of fellow visitors joined me to wonder at the variety and style of this ubiquitous spring bulb. For a flower so easily taken for granted as it peaks out from roadsides year on year, it really does have a much wider range, in form and scent, than I ever realised. It’s a reliable and sophisticated show off and I love it!