Britain’s native daffodil threatened by garden centre hybrids

by | Oct 18, 2016 | News, Plantaria, Sustainability | 0 comments

daffodil

They are a symbol of spring and of the Great British love affair with gardening itself, but gardeners are being warned that their attachment to the?daffodil?could effectively spell its end – at least in its true form.

The native British strain of?daffodil, which inspired Wordsworth’s poem as well as references in Shakespeare, is becoming a rarity even in the wild due to crosspollination with ever more flamboyant strains of the flower bought from garden centres and nurseries, experts say.

It follows warnings that even the drifts of?daffodils?Wordsworth would have seen in the Lake District are being bred out by cross-pollination with larger, hardier varieties planted nearby over generations.

Now English Heritage, guardian of some of the UK’s most important historic gardens, is taking action by ordering a mass autumn planting campaign including 25,000 bulbs of the native strains of?daffodil?and bluebells at some of its sites.

The native “English” bluebell is also under threat because of the spread of larger but less fragrant Spanish variety.

As well as planting the two flowers at its properties, the organisation is handing out bulbs to visitors to take home to plant in their own gardens to help promote the native varieties.

It is not, however, calling for an end to planting of hybrid varieties of?daffodil?or other flowers.

Indeed some of the 11 English Heritage properties taking part in the initiative are themselves effectively monuments to the history of horticultural experimentation, most notably Down House in Kent, better known as the home of Charles Darwin.

John Watkins, head of gardens and landscapes at English Heritage, said: “Native?daffodilsand bluebells, as well as the historic cultivated varieties, are a vital part of our horticultural and cultural heritage, inspiring gardeners and poets alike.

“Our native species and historic cultivars are increasingly under threat from cross-pollination with nonnative species and hybrids that flower at the same time.

“The resulting offspring will be hybrids and likely to outperform and out-compete the native species. Historic gardens and landscapes are often the last refuge for ancient cultivars and native species.

“Our major spring bulb planting campaign – across some of the most important historic gardens in England – will help arrest that national decline and ensure that the?daffodil celebrated by Wordsworth over 200 years ago can still be enjoyed by visitors today and in the future.”

Lovers of native wild flowers have become increasingly vocal in their criticism of the practice of planting clumps of garden varieties of?daffodil?on roadside verges and elsewhere, condemning it as nothing but horticultural “bling”.

In 2010 one conservationist, Dr Andy Tasker, the former chief executive of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, launched a one-man campaign against the practice, likening efforts to brighten up road verges and picnic spots with modern strains of?daffodil?as “like painting lipstick on the Mona Lisa”.

Spanish bluebells are thought to have been introduced to Britain in the late 17th century but did not become widely established until Victorian times when they were first embraced by gardeners.

Article source

more latest news ➡

GCA BoT results show garden projects on the up

January’s GCA BoT results reveal rise in garden projects

Hard landscaping topped the sales table in the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report for January 2024 with hardy plants, seeds and bulbs also doing well. Figures recorded by GCA member garden centres last month show a good start to the...

Rising stars nominations deadline 1 March

March 1 deadline for Rising Stars nominations

The GCA is urging members to get their 2024 Rising Stars nominations in by March 1 to help showcase and develop the industry’s most talented individuals this year. The Westland Horticulture sponsored programme offers those who participate the chance to be mentored...

Handy drops new catalogue for 2024 season

Handy unveils the latest gardening and DIY products

British garden manufacturer Handy has announced the arrival of its new catalogue and Monthly Dealer Promotions Calendar, both designed to provide retailers with valuable increased margins on a wide range of gardening and DIY products and ensure they have everything...

HTA shows caution for garden retailers

Garden Centres cautious despite good start to year

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) releases its February monthly market update, which shows that despite the UK economy's recently announced recession, garden retail continues to show some green shoots to kick off the year. The resilience is a continuity of...

Mike Burks awarded GCA Honorary member

GCA inducts Mike Burks as honorary member

Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, which owns Castle Gardens in Sherborne, Brimsmore Gardens in Yeovil and Poundbury Gardens near Dorchester, has been awarded Honorary Membership of the Garden Centre Association (GCA). Presented by GCA...

Greenfingers

The GCA Conference digs deep for the Greenfingers Charity

The recent Garden Centre Association (GCA) conference was not only an informative and educational event, but it also featured a lot of fundraising for the garden retail sector’s adopted charities, including Greenfingers. In fact, delegates dug so deep into their...

Read GCR's latest edition!
Read GCR's latest Made in Britain Supplement!

Subscribe ToThe Wednesday Word

Subscribe To
The Wednesday Word

 

Get all the latest news, events & more straight to your inbox every Wednesday.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This