Saturday, 1 March 2008

daffodils go wild

What better way to celebrate St Davids day than trumpeting about daffodils?

In Nottinghamshire they are just beginning to flower - but give a thought to the poor, depressed plant breeders. There they go, investing their lives creating cultivars of our best loved native plants but they know that they can never beat the originals. What a futile occupation!

A fantastic case in point is our own wild daffodil narcissus pseudonarcissus. What could be prettier than this beautiful native with its sparkling little yellow flower trumpets? Yes, yes, we can create thumping great daffodils with near fluorescent florescents - but really. What is the point? The wild daffodil is subtle, delightful and entirely at home in our gardens.

In the autumn we bought loads of wild daffodil bulbs to plant along our little 'woodland path' and, as expected, these temperamental superstars did not all grow to flower. But enough have shown to make me feel the effort was worthwhile. They are very special and part of a gardening aesthetic that finds greatest beauty in the simple and unforced forms and colours of our native flora. Our indigenous plants are uniquely attractive to our native insects and so are doubly important in providing a rich food chain for predatory insects, amphibians, mammals and birds.

Six of the best native plants that work brilliantly in the garden:

primrose primula vulgaris
cowslip primula veris
honeysuckle lonicera periclymenum
hawthorn crataegus monogyna
crab apple malus sylvestris
wild privet ligustrum vulgare

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