Feral Daffodils – don’t you just…?

Lovely Daffodils – though these were going over a bit

I have a love-hate relationship with daffodils. Our wild daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus is a native species (although even that is somewhat doubtful and disputed) whose world range stretches south from Britain to Spain and Portugal and east to Germany. It is a woodland plant that occurs in carpets that add splashes of spring yellow to the woodland floor as the trees begin to green up in March.  The native plant has pale yellow petals framing a deeper yellow trumpet of tepals.  It’s a subtle flower whose emergence marks a stage of the unfolding of spring in those rather scattered locations in which it is native or at least long-established.

Village daffodils in their natural habitat – lovely!

A lot of my love for daffodils goes out to these native plants – but I rarely see them. I can feel quite a lot of love for the brighter, brasher garden varieties too.  When my daughter was born I filled the house with bright yellow bunches of ‘daffs’ to welcome her into her home and for her mother’s homecoming.  Daffodils, jonquils, narcissi in the garden are fine too – I have love for them too. But where this love switches into extreme irritation bordering on hate is when these garden flowers pop up deep in the countryside as roadside splashes of colour.

Rather than thinking ‘Oh, what lovely flowers!’ I think ‘Look, someone’s planted some daffodils here’ and resent them.  I know that the less these planted daffodils resemble the wild native species, the more I will resent them. If they have white petals, or any red or orange on the trumpet then my resentment will be all the greater. And this is because I see them as planted intruders into the ‘natural’ countryside rather than aspects of nature.

I know this is a feeling bordering on the irrational, or perhaps stepping well into that realm, as we are talking about a roadside verge in lowland England not a wilderness far from habitation. There is nothing in my view, or for miles in any direction, that is wholly natural: everything has the touch of mankind on it. For heaven’s sake we are talking of a roadside verge: I’m in a car, driving along a road, with hedges, fences or walls separating me from fields growing planted crops or grazing domestic animals, and there are signs of human settlement, electricity pylons and road signs all within view, and I am irritated by a bunch of pretty flowers? Yes, I am.

Intrusive feral daffodils – like graffiti in the countryside

The thing about those roadside garden daffodils is that I know that someone has planted them. The reason they are here, in their irritating straight line or small pointless clump, is that someone has put them there. That’s why they aren’t on the other side of the road, or further on or further back; they are where they are because someone put them there and I find their beauty much diminished as a result. And that’s why I like them all the less, the less they resemble our native wild daffodil, because that rubs it in even more.

And the fact that they often represent the only splash of plant colour out in the countryside in early spring deepens my irritation. It just makes it all the more obvious that these flowers represent a human intrusion rather than an encounter with natural beauty.

If I thought that these flowers have arrived under their own steam, as it were, and struggled to establish themselves in this spot, I know I would feel differently about them, but they feel to me akin to a gaudy pot plant plonked into the countryside. That’s why I have a love-hate relationship with daffodils. In the right place they are lovely; in what I consider to be the wrong place I dislike them.  The right place for garden daffodils is in our gardens, in our houses brightening up our rooms, and even on roadside verges in built up areas. They should be restricted to grow inside the 30mph zones of built up areas and if I ruled the world the daffodil police would be out there digging them up from our country roadsides.

Feral Daffodils – as welcome as fly-tipping

63 Comments

  1. Paul V Irving says:

    Couldn’t agree more, love them in the garden and other peoples gardens, hate planted daffs in the countryside. Our verges are some of the last refuges of wild flowers and to have them replaced with what seem like brash garden plants demonstrates only too clearly that a whole host of folk don’t know and don’t care makes me hugely resentful and frankly bloody angry. There huge swathes of them here in the Nidderdale AONB planted by individuals and parish councils I must say I get an overwhelming urge to spray them dig them up etc, it makes me so angry. In gardens as I say I love them.

  2. Alan Parfitt says:

    Living more or less in the Chilterns I have seen small clumps of genuine wild daffodils in woodlands and they are lovely, smaller and paler than the garden bred types. However all too often where the wild daffodils grow not far away will also be a clump of the garden variety, planted without any thought much as you illustrated in your blog Mark.
    The danger of course is that the garden plants will hybridise with the wild plants and so degrade our wild stock much like our native bluebell and the introduced Spanish bluebell.
    WHY can’t man keep his meddlesome fingers away from our natural world?

  3. Tony says:

    I understand your view but these random groups may also be the memorial to a road accident .

    • Mark says:

      Tony – a very few might be but even so I’m not sure why those would be particularly mitigating circumstances.

    • Jonathan Wallace says:

      This raises another bug-bear: when people make road-side memorials like this why do they almost never take the flowers out of the plastic wrapping? After a week or so there is an unsightly mess of plastic film containing putrid rotten flowers which can hardly have been the intention of the people laying the bouquets. I understand that people may have an impulse to memorialize a lost loved one but surely there are better ways of doing so?

  4. dr m parry says:

    Anything that reduces the wildness of our landscapes is to be avoided. And these are so un-necessary. Down with meddling!

  5. Jo says:

    You’ve hit the nail right on the head for me Mark ……. irritating to the nth degree …

  6. Andy Amphlett says:

    For an overview of the currently known distribution of Narcissus taxa in ‘the wild’ across the UK and Ireland see this map on the BSBI Maps website:
    http://bsbi.org/maps?series=NobwRAXg9lC2CyUAmBTMAuMAjMBfAukA&taxonid=2cd4p9h.1qzcf7 Zoom in to reveal more detailed locations.

    Over 160 Narcissus taxa have been recorded in the wild (all but one alien), but there are thousands of cultivars in gardens. Outwith gardens, Narcissus taxa have been recorded in 2492 hectads (10km OS grid squares) and in 18,689 tetrads. But as the map reveals, recording of daffodils is not consistent, and the actual totals (especially of tetrads) will be much higher.

    As well as being deliberately planted, daffodils are thoroughly naturalised in many locations. Where I live, bulbs are dispersed by floods and daffodils grow along riverbanks and in woodlands within the spate zone of rivers far from habitation.

    And just to clarify, I am no fan of daffodils either!

  7. Chrissie says:

    Couldnt agree more. Not a fan in gardens either and planted in rows is not how they grow in the wild. On a recent trip to the borders of Wales we did not find one wild daff but plenty planted by roadsides!

  8. John Miles says:

    And the same people cut the grass as early as March taking off the heads of Dandelions which can feed a host of desperate insects wanting the first nectar. ‘Yes but they think it makes the countryside pretty’ !! Watching Black Grouse lek from the house this morning! That’s pretty!!

  9. Amy-Jane Beer says:

    A sign appeared on one of my local footpath this year asking walkers not the pick the daffs in the woods and to ‘leave them for others to enjoy’. The sign winds me up, partly because because simply by being there it credits the swathe of non-native flowers with a status above that of all the other species that actually belong. Or assumes the woods are akin to a park, where of course I wouldn’t pick. It’s not that I don’t like daffs – I enjoy the ones in gardens and vases, and I go to Farndale every year to revel in the wild daff displays. But like you Mark, I’m not so keen on the increasing feral gangs of them in the wider, wilder landscape.

  10. Julie Trevarthen says:

    I frequently pass the site of an accident, which is littered with plastic flowers, wind catchers and a wheel trim, a few biodegradable daffodils would be a welcome site!
    I would rather they planted bulbs any day of the week!

  11. Ed Hutchings says:

    Completely with you on this one, Mark!

  12. Miles says:

    In defence of planted Daffodils

    In my Plantlife days (and long after) I too used to recoil at the sight of cultivated daffodils that had been planted willy nilly across the countryside. My thinking went something along these lines:

    How dare these people, who know nothing about wild plants, desecrate the countryside with these gaudy showy flowers?!

    I have changed my views. Yes I always get an extra sense of pleasure from seeing wild daffodils – though these are often seen in gardens as in the countryside. Does the fact that wild daffodils were ‘originally’ planted in a garden make them less valuable than ones that occur in the countryside (or unknown origin)?

    But someone has taken the care and thought to plant daffodils – on a road verge, or a field edge. It’s always difficult to divine the intentions behind such an act, but it’s reasonable to assume that they are doing it because they think adding some flowers to a particular place will make it more attractive, or even, as someone has suggested above, because that place has a particular meaning to them.

    Yes Parish Councils may now add Daffodils to road verges in a rather less thought through fashion, but the knock on effect is that those road verges do not get mown the instant the sun comes out – which allows other plants to grow and flower with them. I have seen large areas of central London Parks converted into spring and early summer meadows, precisely because the Daffodils are left to to their thing.

    I think the risk of hybridisation between native and cultivars is small to be honest – it’s the usual scare story which is at best a distraction from the big issues we should be tackling.

    The big issue here, the Elephant in the Room, if you will, is that there are so few wild flowers in the typical British countryside now. This makes the clumps of garden Daffs stick out, because they are a splash of colour against a monotonous green background.

    I regularly take a walk here in Dorset. It’s in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on farm which has been in some form of Agri-Environment Scheme for 20 years at least. I walk along a Parish Boundary hedge which is probably Saxon in origin. I walk for a couple of miles and see not a single Primrose, not a single Bluebell. The only wild plants are nettles, hogweed, cleavers, occasional patches of Dog’s mercury, docks, Ivy and the occasional patch of celandine. I strongly suspect this hedge was “sprayed out” ie herbicide spray was used to remove the wild flora probably in the 60s or 70s. Despite 20 years of AE farming, nothing has returned because there is nowhere for it to return from. Most plants of hedgerows cannot fly back in; they either have large seeds which are carried in, or they creep in vegetatively.

    Railing against cultivated Daffs as some suburbanisation of the “wild” countryside, is an easy distraction. The wild countryside has long gone from most places (certainly in the lowlands), replaced decades ago by industrial farming which affords no place for wildlife.

    Gaudy showy garden Daffodils provide a reminder, as you intimated Mark, of what has gone. Perhaps our anger at these innocent flowers is actually projected guilt and regret.

    Regardless, for most people these flowers bring joy to them, because people inherently gain pleasure from seeing such a clear manifestation of Spring appearing.

    Who are we to tell them they are wrong?

    • murray marr says:

      Exactly. Who’s to say what’s right or wrong on this?
      It’s conservation versus conceit. (Isn’t a lot of conservation a kind of conceit too?)

      Anyway, the biggest elephant in the room is the increasing levels of nitrogen in the soil, courtesy agriculture, industry and transport.
      Road verges and old pastures are being homogenised into inexorable dreariness.
      The image of England’s ‘pleasant pastures green’ has become an utter deceit over the past half century.

      • Jo says:

        Conceit has nothing to do with the fact that I spend most of my time at present pulling up Spanish Bluebells in the hope that they do not invade my top field of English ones …… neither does it have anything to do with bashing the Himalayan Balsam that is choking our indigenous annuals out of their habitat ……. nor does it have anything to do with cutting the vast swathes of rhododendron destroying the habitat of our native wildlife ……..
        Feral daffodils are just the beginning of another invasion …….

  13. Gary Grant says:

    Part of the difficulty is scale and speed. People are taking less interest in things that cannot be seen from a moving vehicle. Large and yellow will be favoured. So many of the most beautiful plants are small and subtle.

  14. Ian Parsons says:

    I have a more niche niggle when it comes to flowering roadside plants. And yes, it is to do with trees.

    Hawthorn.

    Yes I know Hawthorn is native, but then so are wild daffs (probably). The problem, like the daffs, is that many planted alongside are roads aren’t native. Have you noticed how the Hawthorns growing along road verges of major roads that were built in the 1980s and 1990s flower much earlier than the Hawthorn growing in the hedges along country lanes or in woodlands? These often flower at the beginning of April, not May (Hawthorn is also called Maythorn because it flowers at the beginning of May). Yes, I know climate change is having an affect on flowering times, but this isn’t the reason for these early flowering Hawthorns. The reason is quite simple, they were cheap.

    When these roads were being built, everything was done on a tendering process and invariably the cheapest tender won the contract (probably why the road surfaces in Britain are full of potholes). Most of the trees planted were imported from Eastern European tree nurseries (Hungary being a popular source) because they could fulfil the required volume easier and cheaper than anything in the UK. The Hawthorn in Eastern Europe flowers earlier than the Hawthorn in Britain and that is the reason for these early flowering Hawthorns. They are not of the native type and are probably diluting the genetics of our native Hawthorns quite effectively. Makes me mad it does!

    So, like you Mark, I too suffer from road verge flower rage. Perhaps we should set up a support group?

    • MK says:

      They also come into leaf earlier, which may perhaps suppress shade intolerant early spring flowers underneath? And how many other non-native natives planted may have had such subtle but detrimental impacts on the ecology of the countryside – planting an oak sourced from Hungary is no more planting a native than planting a horse chestnut. And then of course there’s ash dieback…
      Rackham discusses this in one of the chapters in Woodlands, (New Naturalist #100) as well as in his last book The Ash Tree.

    • Ernest Moss says:

      I’ve often mused about the impact of Eastern European Hawthorn on pollinators, Lets face it, it’s everywhere these days and I’m sure a lot of it was planted further back then the 80’s as well. Given the paucity of early season sources of pollen these days, I have wondered if the earlier flowering hawthorn might actually be more beneficial to certain pollinators than is perhaps thought? Has any work been done on it?

  15. Dave says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you Mark.

  16. Lyn Ebbs says:

    How do you feel about snowdrops, Mark? There’s a fashion around this area to plant them on verges, too but being less showy and flowering so early they attract less opprobrium than daffodils.

    • Mark says:

      Lyn – much the same except slightly less so. Love them in gardens and built up area verges – and churchyards etc – but not as feral clumps.

  17. Martin WW says:

    You realise everything is screwed when verges are mown but mown around clumps of ‘daffs’. But it shouldn’t come as a big surprise as I live in a National Park.

  18. Kathleen Patrick says:

    Quite agree Mark. Lots of “soldiers” marching along verges in our area. But worst of all there’s a big patch of brash non-natives in lovely Dovedale right by the river – spoils my mood each time I pass them. They are so out of place.

  19. Andy Holden says:

    A serious case of OCD going on here – obsessive compulsive daffodilianism.

  20. Roy Leader says:

    I often find myself driving along and trying to spot any place that man hasn’t influenced and I really don’t have a lot of success, I sometimes wish I didn’t do this as it makes me feel sad ( reminds me of my own impact). What saddens me more is when man has spoiled the environment with thoughtless selfishness such as fly tipping or spraying ugly mess onto every bridge or fence. When I see the daffs I’m slightly sad because they are another example of man imposing his will onto nature but pleased that they were probably planted with the intention of making the environment nicer. I much prefer seeing a swathe of daffs when the alternative is so frequently a swathe of McDonald’s packaging and Starbucks cups.

  21. Stuart says:

    I am not alone! I feel so much better for knowing that.
    Worries me that people like planted/feral cultivar daffodils in the ‘wider’ countryside…still in a countryside largely devoid of wildflowers they are often the only obvious flowering plant people will see…have we replaced swathes of wildflowers with cultivar daffs in our collective image of the countryside?

  22. Filbert Cobb says:

    If daffodils are as welcome as fly-tipping I wish the fly-tippers at Queen Manor Road, Downton and West Dean would get themselves a dibber

    • Jonathan Wallace says:

      I can’t see anything in the comments above or in the original post that suggests any equivalence between fly-tipping and daffodil planting but, yes, I imagine most people would prefer daffs to old mattresses, fridges and tyres.

  23. MK says:

    By the time the daffs appear in the wider countryside I’ve generally seen so many hedges mutilated that I’ve lost the will to live…

    Interesting and thought provoking piece though Mark, and similarly interesting comments. I’ve always loved daffs in gardens from childhood onwards, so never really given much thought to their place (or not) in the wider countryside. Perhaps I should. If it were trees – as in Ian’s comment about hawthorn above – I would probably feel differently!

  24. Joan Thompson says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more Mark. I thought I was alone in my views that they should be seen in gardens and not the countryside. I am one of the last generations that knew countryside verges (speaking of the Kent countryside) as a child, the bank verges were full of primroses and the other hedge verges full of violets and later on clouds of stitchwort. The coppiced (spell check didn’t even recognise that word to start with) woods were carpeted with wood anemones or primroses. Most people these days at least in the south east where I know they hardly ever see primroses, wood anemones etc do not know what the countryside once was and seek to add a splash of colour to the green. Dandelions were plentiful and as a small child helped pick them so my parents could make dandelion wine. No idea what the end result tasted like I was too small. There were always plenty left afterwards. Every time I see a clump of daffodils on a grass verge I wish they had planted a wild primrose instead which would then help to recolonise areas where they once were. Wild daffodils were not something I knew about as a child as they didn’t occur near me.
    The GCE in nature which unfortunately hasn’t attracted a lot of attention would have been an ideal platform to inform kids of what is really natural.

  25. Les Wallace says:

    Mark you are most definitely not alone I see daffs planted everywhere including the banks of the Union canal – which has the most beautiful display of native wild flowers I’ve seen anywhere, along the local railway banking and road verges even deep into rural areas. That’s on top of the council displays on council land which I find excessive to start off with. The mania for putting ornamental plants in what should be wilder areas is very destructive, sadly not only a pedantic complaint.

    Three years ago we were planting trees in a wood with local schoolkids when an old duffer turned up with bags of daff bulbs he had got from our council (with the understanding they would not be planted within the wood) who appropriated the area we were supposed to plant in for the daff bulbs. I got furious looks from hi for planting trees there! A bit of an awkward stand off developed, but he got to plant hundreds of bulbs. Each year a few of them get mysteriously pulled up….mmmm. This is the same guy I mentioned before who went in with a chainsaw, and encouraged a 14 year old to help him with another chainsaw, to cut up dead wood which he found offensive! If you put daffs in a wild area that means you don’t appreciate it’s wildness. Last year I was speaking to someone who is running a big nature initiative in Cumbernauld, he too has had tremendous problems with people wanting ornamental plants put in what are supposed to be areas for wildlife. We need to stand firm about this and not be shy or awkward why we think sticking daffo bloody dills every bloody where is annoying and harmful.

  26. Dr m parry says:

    Why do people compare this planting to something much worse (flytipping, other litter) and then say ‘daffodils much better…’ as though that made it ok???? It’s not one or the other is it? Failure of logic people.

    And we have graveyards for memorials – that’s what they’re for.

    Quote: ‘If Wordsworth’s heart with pleasure filled at the sight of a host of golden daffodils….it’s a fair bet he didn’t see them two weeks later.’ (Geoff Hamilton)

  27. Random22 says:

    Daffodils are the floral version of grey squirrels; they shouldn’t be everywhere, but somehow they are. However, as much as I hate grey squirrels I must admit I cannot find it in my crabby heart to hate daffodils like I ought to because I just don’t think I can take another couple of months of winter by the time they flower. There is a road over the hill between where I live and the nearest big (ish) town where the shops are, and without being planter with clumps of daffs (and ox eye daisies and a couple of other very obviously planted stuff) it would be just horrible windblasted dead grass all the way to near June some years, which I know some of you would find better, but being prone to SAD and severe depression they have managed to keep me going. Which is probably how others feel about grey squirrels.

    Of course part of the thing with daffs is that they are so damn hardy. Chuck a couple of bulbs out a car window into a verge without making the slightest effort to plant them in any soil, and chances are that in a couple of years you’ll have a clump of daffs growing there. There was a lorry transporting bulbs to a garden centre near here during the 1980s, and the point in the road where it tipped and spilled its load is well marked with a huge drift of daffs. Plus all the people who just chucked some old bulbs out in the garden waste or over a wall and gave no further thought to them. Not even snowdrops or grape hyacinths are so resilient to mistreatment.

    How do we all feel about snakeshead fritillaries, btw? I’ve noticed that the council around my way has been on an upkick of planting those. Again, one of my favourite bulbs so I cannot be objective here. I know they are of dubious native provenance too.

    • Mark says:

      Random22 – good comment, thanks.

      • Random22 says:

        Not so good as it ought to be, I’m sorry to say. I wish I could be more unequivocal about it. If it helps, I do feel much the same on the mini tete-a-tete clumps of daffs in hedges because I can pinpoint exactly where they come from. The local Tesco. Clumps of tete-a-tete by the roadside are always the exact size of the pots of them sold in Tesco, and you just know that it was someone who chucked out a pot of them when they had gone over. Tete-a-tete are the disposable daffs for people who have no garden, but not enough people take enough care to dispose of them properly.

    • MK says:

      I wish they were that hardy in my garden – in half the borders they have come up ‘blind’ (leaves but no flowers) this year. Snowdrops also absolutely hopeless in these areas, only crocuses doing ok. Then again I am an even worse gardener than I am naturalist so that probably explains it. 🙂

      Sorry to read of your proneness to SAD and depression Random22 – obviously must be difficult and it’ll be very personal to you but hope you are getting support if and when you need it. Not the same but I’ve had a family bereavement recently and observing nature was (and is) a great comfort – just another reason we should value it – hope it helps you when times are tough.

  28. sue brewer says:

    I too get worried about the clumps of obviously non-wild daffs etc stuck for no reason way out in the country – but what riles me even more is when I see daffs, crocus or whatever planted in straight rows! They don’t naturally grow in rows, they grow in random groups – a row of daffs is just weird!

  29. Filbert Cobb says:

    Back in the day, road construction projects specified the use of Ministry of Transport grass mixtures. I think they were numbered 1-4. They contained perennial ryegrass, creeping red fescue, hard fescue, smooth stalked meadow grass, browntop bentgrass and wild white clover in different proportions. Even crested dogsbody. I don’t think the country of origin was specified. It was the warehouse manager’s job to supply the most profitable mixture, so the seed was sourced as cheaply as possible from Europe or America. Those mixtures are still there, give or take, so I find it hard to get too fussed up about some garden discards when the whole gig is largely artiifical and alien.

    • Miles says:

      People have been moving plants around the countryside as long as they have been here.

      Our treasured (and rapidly disappearing) arable weeds/flowers were almost all introduced to the UK over a very long period starting in the neolithic. Wild plants with herbal properties have been brought in, or native one’s favoured, for millennia.

      Should we decry the remnants of Elms in the countryside, because they were all introduced and then planted?

      Farmers were railing against the excessive use of perennial ryegrass as far back as 1793 (and probably earlier).

      https://soilandhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/01aglibrary/010128elliot/010128apx3.html

      • Jo says:

        Just because it HAS been happening Miles, doesn’t mean to say that it’s right to carry on ……… especially where native habitats are being degraded and native plants diluted …….

  30. Alan Bread says:

    Leylandii hedges, copper beech, foreign provenance hedging plants, perriwinkle, montbretia; endless list. In an empty homogenised countryside due to nitrification driven by consumer choices, daffodils seem very trivial and a distraction.

  31. MK says:

    Perhaps to an extent it depends where in the wider countryside the daffs are. If they are at the entrance to a farm for example then that may be a bit more appropriate (and more like planting in a garden) than further along the road.

    Going back to your point about lowland England being almost wholly unnatural Mark – true, but don’t think this necessarily makes your objection to feral daffs unreasonable. The point is that this lowland countryside ought to be able to accommodate farming – even fairly intensive farming – in a way that’s sustainable for wildlife. As I see it this is the case made by naturalists, wildlife NGOs and indeed quite a lot of farmers – it’s only the NFU and their acolytes who seem to regard the two as mutually exclusive. We have the ability and understanding to manage with care in ways that benefit wildlife if we choose to. If that includes putting right past wrongs tokenism such as random and ill thought redemptive planting, be it garden daffs or cheaply sourced tree saplings, contributes little and may even make matters worse.

    The comparison with grey squirrels may be an interesting one – like the greys, it’s not the daffs fault they have been put there, so it may be hard to dislike them – in the same way that I may personally dislike smoking and worry about the health effects but I’m not going to fall out with a good friend just because they smoke (apologies to any puffing billies reading this).

    This blog has also recently discussed little owls and less recently buddleia, two non-natives that seem entirely or mostly benign. I love seeing buddleia including in my own garden – but if I saw one in the middle of an ancient wood I’d be concerned. A matter of degrees.

    • Filbert Cobb says:

      There is probably enough buddleia growing along the railway tracks into Waterloo to provide all the annual needs of Drax. Without cutting down North Carolina.

  32. Marian says:

    MK says:

    “The comparison with grey squirrels may be an interesting one – like the greys, it’s not the daffs fault they have been put there, so it may be hard to dislike them…”

    Exactly, for me it is hard – and why is it the flora and fauna that is so often maligned?

    As at least one other contributor says – let’s leave well alone.

  33. Philip Espin says:

    Mark I can’t resist asking this. Do you feel the same way about East European, African and Asian humans and other alien tribes introduced into our version of the wild? Where do you draw the line? Or is it just daffs and linnets?

    I have a practical view. If it does no harm, let it be. I put daffs in that category (and Little Owls).

  34. Sandra Padfield says:

    I find myself particularly incensed when I come across gaudy, garden daffs planted on nature reserves. Some, I know, arrive in spoil dumped to build up pathways but many are deliberately introduced by well-meaning, un-thinking people who seem to lack any sense of the purpose of nature reserves. Garden plants belong in gardens, not in the wider countryside, and most certainly not where they will detract from the delicate beauty of wild plants.

  35. Pete Mantle says:

    Yes it’s funny how we all draw invisible lines in the landscape. This is good, this is not good. Personally, it depends on the day I’m having and certainly the weather. In strong sun the yellow can turn from mildly uplifting to almost offensive. Seeing daffodils – or other hybrids flowering on a nature reserve is always depressing – like spotting a terrapin at a wader scrape or a parakeet on a feeder.

  36. Trapit says:

    My old house was in the edge of a wood,there were drifts of wild daffodils which older people on the estate said had always been there.
    Another site on a bracken bank held a badger sett, the badgers never seemed to dig them up for the bulbs as I thought they might.

  37. michael bosley says:

    I’m not keen on them, but they do have an upside. I suspect that the practice of planting daffs on verges etc has been part of a process which is going in the right direction.
    twenty years ago, one would never have seen verges commercially planted with “bee friendly” mixes, as one does commonly now. Even if the sourcing for these might not be ecologically unimpeachable, it does show that there has been a general raising of consciousness. Verges are now recognised as important, and ecological impacts are now considered in their planting and management.
    Drifts of garish cultivars may well have been/are a way of shouting, “HEY! LOOK! WHAT ABOUT THE VERGES!?”
    As a further thought, Mark, I wonder if you have blogged about the gardening industry more generally? My particular pet hate being Radio 4’s “Gardeners Question Time”, and its perennial exhortations to buy and plant non-natives?

  38. Jonathan says:

    1 reason to be cheerful about Brexit for all you Daffogrumps:
    Here in the Fens where daffodils are grown in huge quantities for the bulbs and cut flowers, it is quite usual to see clumps of yellow in the dykes and on verges growing from spilt bulbs years after the cropping regime has moved on.
    Daffs here are mainly picked by migrant workers, of course, but with doubts about such pickers after Brexit will growers even plant them?
    Perhaps, instead, suburban daffodils will then be plundered for Motheres’ Day bouquets and your problems will be over.

    • Random22 says:

      They’ll still plant them, but instead of paying migrant workers even pittance money to harvest them they will BE PAID by the government to have workfare labourers on benefits gathering them in. Brexit is a nice little moneyspinner for some. For the unemployed, the poor, and the disabled though, it is a straight ticket to the return of serfdom 🙁

  39. Matt Dalby says:

    How we feel about feral daffodils is surely a lot less important than the effect, either positive or negative that they are having on biodiversity. Obviously some non native species e.g. rhodedendron, Japenese knotweed etc. are highly damaging to native flora while there are many other species that do little or no harm. I have no idea which category daffodils are in, has any research been done on it? If they are essentially harmless or even beneficial by providing early season nectar then I say live and let live. If it can be shown that they are causing significant harm to our native flora then a good case could be made for removing them, but to get rid of them just because you don’t like them or think they are unnatural would seem to be a pointless waste of time when there are so many positive things that need doing to help nature.

  40. Mike Clough says:

    100% agree with you Mark – and so relieved – i thought it was just me!…
    I recently attended a seminar where roadside daffodils were seen as the herald of Spring – i pointed out that they were… ‘an Invasive Non-Native Species’ – you could have heard a pin drop …

  41. Andrew Ellis says:

    Cornwall is full of roadside daffodils, many now almost over as spring arrives here first. Many are there because during the First World War, our daffodil growing fields were ploughed up to enable food crops to be grown. The bulbs were just dumped in the hedgerows; they then naturalised. They too are a memorial.

  42. Rex says:

    Graffiti sums it up well! I have a strong reaction to all the urbanisation that people think our countryside verges need. What right do they have to turn a country lane into an extension of their gardens just because it’s outside their gate? They is a verge near here that has pampas grass and is mown like a lawn….and that’s on the opposite side to the row of houses and in an area of Lincolnshire that has designated wildlife verges supported by the wild life trust etc.
    Leave the verges to the cow parsley etc.

  43. Alan Bateman says:

    Get over yourselves.

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