The Wild Daffodil: Scientific name: Narcissus pseudonarcissus
The Discover Bucks Museum in Aylesbury has this week, as part of its Keepers Corner, been scouring its archives in search of the elusive wild daffodil wwwcoverbucksmuseum.org/keepers-corner-insearch-of-the-wild-daffodil
Identification: The wild daffodil has narrow, grey-green leaves and a familiar daffodil flower, but with pale yellow petals surrounding a darker yellow trumpet; this two-tone look is one way to tell them apart from their garden relatives. The wild daffodil is also relatively short (30 cm) and forms clumps, carpeting the ground.
Ascott is a National Trust property and you need to book to ensure entry. Ascott Park is a large expanse of mown grass dotted with specimen trees including several fine oaks, cedars and large horse chestnuts. In the spring there is a magnificent display of daffodils.
The House and Gardens are open between March and September, Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays). All visitors need to book tickets in advance of their visit to ensure the gardens are open. https://www.ascottestate.co.uk/your-visit
March is the time when the carpet of yellow appears below the tree canopy at Batsford Arboretum and you can say so long to winter . There’s even a hotline to call for an update on what’s in bloom before you visit (01386 701441)… serious garden geek territory.So it’s just over the border in Gloucestershire, near Moreton-in-Marsh, but totally worth the trip – as is fellow Westonbirt, with its blooms of wild daffodils.
Cliveden’s extensive woodlands and gardens are the perfect background for spring flowers, including daffodils and primroses. Take your walking boots and a picnic and enjoy a day on the amazing estate next to the Thames. Check for details: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/oxfordshire-buckinghamshire-berkshire
The 90-acre Capability Brown-designed grounds around Hartwell House is a must for exploring in spring and the fact that this is one of the three Historic House Hotels of the National Trust means you can wake up there too! The gardening team planted 10,000 daffodil bulbs in the grounds near the canal temple 20 years ago so it’s quite a sight at this time of year. If you can’t stay, then at least take afternoon tea overlooking the grounds and have an excuse to explore the grounds.
There’s daffodils galore at the National Trust owned Hughenden Manor, known for its orchard and walled garden, and once the country home of Victorian statesman Benjamin Disraeli. Also worth a walk is the 25-hectare Hughenden Park it is something of a mecca for daffodil lovers who come to see the carpets of yellow flowers, and among them gnarly old blossom trees. It’s a magic combination and is free!
Hughenden is also the place for delicate, lemon-coloured primroses. They were former Hughenden resident Benjamin Disraeli’s favourite flower and they dot the banks and borders of the garden.
The pale stone of Stowe’s colonnaded facade is the perfect backdrop to Stowe’s gazillions of daffodils. They’re out now and at their best between Grenville’s Column and Stowe House and around the ionic (did you pay attention in Classics?!) Temple of Concord and Victory. More details on their website.
Shotover House, Wheatley
Shotover House is usually an appointment-only garden to visit and with no direct website, so snap up this chance to visit on Daffodil Day. The charity fundraiser is on 26 March 2-4.30pm. There will be tea, coffee and home made cake stands plus a plant and home-made produce stall alongside the swathes of spring daffs.
The early flowering daffodils are already in full bloom around the flower beds at Waddesdon, but it’s Daffodil Valley that is – as the name suggests – the real show. If you take the 20min walk up to the manor this will take you on a sunshine-yellow route through Daffodil Valley There’s every shade of yellow in this area near the Aviary (back in 2019, 350,000 spring bulbs were planted around the grounds!) – and it’s even gently sloping to give you the best view across the bobbing heads. Also check out Tay Bridge and Upper Deer Pen for their daffodils and a quiet picnic spot on a sunny spring day.
West Wycombe Park
The park is open on selected days and often for local charities so do check before you go. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/oxfordshire-buckinghamshire-berkshire
Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
It’s not just water sports in MK’s vast Willen Lake – the land around it amounts to 80 acres of parkland that’s been planted up for year-round colour. For spring daffodils check out the area around the Peace Pagoda and Medicine Wheel, but with 250 million daffodils reportedly planted around Milton Keynes over the last few decades, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a few.