I’ve been filling what little spare time I have recently with researching daffodil bulbs which has proved trickier than first anticipated. I decided that it would be lovely to have daffodils lining the driveway in spring even though I know it will be a constant battle to stop the sheep from eating them! Not one to give up, or make life any easier for myself I also set the task of finding daffodil varieties bred by the late Michael Jefferson-Brown.
When I was a child and my grandparents lived at Huntlands Farm, Michael Jefferson-Brown was their closest neighbour living in the house the other side of the lane. Michael was a well-known expert and breeder of lilies, daffodils and narcissi. I’ve since discovered he had over thirty books published during his lifetime as well as winning over ninety medals for his exhibits of daffodils and lilies and is the only person ever to have won four consecutive gold medals at consecutive RHS shows!
Michael would give my grandmother different daffodil and narcissi bulbs which she planted everywhere, including a field which we would help her harvest and bunch up ready for market each year. Spring was always a time so full of colour due to these beautiful plants. Over the years, the bulbs have stopped appearing and the ones in the field have long been replaced with crops for the animals to eat.
To date, I have only found one variety of daffodil bulbs bred by Michael Jefferson-Brown and that is the Golden Ducat. I ordered 25kg and started planting in earnest – a couple of hours later and blisters to prove it I was only half way along the drive! Thankfully, good old Dad came to the rescue with his spade and after a few interruptions by passing neighbours (including me having to chase sheep that appeared from nowhere in the lane, the joys of farming) we finished the job ! I now have to wait to see if they do actually decide to pop up out of the ground and flower; then the task of keeping them alive and uneaten by four-legged woolly creatures begins!
In the meantime, I’m enjoying my indoor narcissi which are popping up all over the house – I think I may have got carried away and planted rather too many. At least I can give them away as pre-Christmas gifts to friends to cheer them up during Winter.