Virginia Barton

23 February 2015: A lot of them about


23 February 2015



N. pseudonarcissus is a small trumpet daffodil up to 35cm in height, with usually glaucous foliage and flowers 4-6cm in width, with deep yellow trumpet and pale yellow perianth segments.

That is how the Royal Horticultural Society describes the Lent Lily or wild daffodil.

The ones on my window sill are larger, and butter yellow, and really strongly scented. They will have come from either Lincolnshire or Cornwall and are dirt cheap. Even if you buy them in tight bud, tightly wrapped in their brown papery sheaths, they will open wide and overwhelm you.


Seriously now, have you ever met anyone who said:

“I hate daffodils”?

And you look out at the stair rods of rain, and a gale to whip the catkins off any willow silly enough to have pushed them out, and you hope it surely can’t be long now.



Spring is late this year and the forecast shows no sign of it yet, despite a mass of snowdrops, plenty of nascent crocus, and a few paltry aconites.

What IS it about aconites? I must have planted hundreds and stubbornly keep on trying — yesterday I counted seven blooms. They flourished on the cesspit when I was a girl, a complete carpet of them.

The willows have turned from black to tawny red, hinting at the green below, and poor old BH complains that his bones are aching, a sure sign of more stair rods. I nearly bought a weepy willow in a pot the other day, and got as far as a long and interesting correspondence with a plantsman in Yorkshire. But the tree turned out to be at least a foot taller than me. Eyes larger than stomach – again.


Here’s snatch of a cheery poem by Herrick:

Fled are the frosts, and now the fields appear
Reclothed in fresh and verdant diaper;
Thaw’d are the snows; and now the lusty Spring
Gives to each mead a neat enamelling….


No, it surely can’t be long now.






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