A Year at Warley Place, Part IV: Daffodils

FritillaryMiss Willmott had a thing for daffs. No, really, she was crazy about them. On joining the male-dominated Royal Horticultural Society she promptly invaded the all-male Narcissus Committee and won gold medals in four consecutive years.

daffs 3

Warley Place would have been sunshine-yellow with prize hybrids, named for her sister and brother in law, and a much-missed sister who died before her eighth birthday.


daffs under the coniferThey flowered on the lawns, by the lake, in the valleys under the trees in drifts of orange, yellow, cream and white.

strange growths

As she grew older and ever-more eccentric Willmott became paranoid about her best varieties, booby-trapping the most important and even carrying a revolver in her handbag to deter bulb thieves.

daffs 2

The garden still glows golden with bloom, though Miss Willmott would hate the nasty feral flowers that have seeded themselves throughout the place in a glorious mongrel jungle.


Daffs 1She’d hate even more the fabulous wild flowers that have crept in over the years. Happily they jumble away, rubbing shoulders with what’s left of Miss Willmott’s prize daffs, nodding in the breeze to delight the rest of us. Here are some images – but if you want to catch the daffs you’ll need to hurry – with this lovely weather they’re wilting fast.

daff field 2

wildflowerswild flowervioletsScillaPulmonariaPink Pulmonariamahonia

Mahonia and Magnolia rub shoulders with pulmonaria, scillas and violets.

magnoliaMagnolia 1gatepostsfront fielddaff fieldconservatorybrickwork

There’s more to come. Just a few weeks now until the next instalment – bluebells – they’re already poking their heads through the daffodils.

Then there’s the rhododendrons – some are out already, but the buds bode well…

rhododendron buds

….and as for the foxgloves – I’m salivating over that particular purple-fest as I type…

The foxgloves are coming

Warley Place Nature Reserve is open every day but please remember – no dogs!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Emma Rogers says:

    Great story. Love that she went to such extreme methods to chase away daffodil thieves! I can’t wait for the bluebells to arrive either. We’ve got a wood near us and it’s my favourite walk of the year when they emerge!


    1. This time of year is so very wonderful – the dappled sunshine, fresh green shoots and jewel-bright flowers. After all that darkness, it’s like the world wants to play again!


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