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2 March 2023 : 
Growing & Showing Daffodils
Gwyn Davies

We had a fantastic talk on 'Growing and Showing Daffodils' from Gwyn Davies who has 40 years experience of growing and showing daffodils, and 30 years judging - both as an RHS Judge, and as a member of the Daffodil Society.  

He explained that there is no difference between Narcissi and Daffodils which the audience found surprising.  Gwyn made some recommendations to grow ; 'Carlton' and 'St Cavan' which were both bred in the 1930's.

Gwyn provided some great tips ;

  • Always plant the same varieties in clumps together.

  • Go for shorter varieties which are better suited to withstand winds, and won't flop easily.

  • Daffodils need good drainage.

  • After flowering, deadhead only.  Don't knot or mow over the foliage.  Apply a liquid fertiliser over the leaves and around the base of the plants. 

  • Always look for firm, solid bulbs.  Check for double heads, but reject bulbs with multiple mini-bulbs around the base.  When selecting a bag of bulbs put a layer in with points up, then a layer with points down inbetween...and repeat. You can get some extra bulbs in!

  • Plant in John Innes #2 with drainage at the bottom.  Sit the bulbs on a layer of horticultural grit.  Make sure you label the pots and leave them outside.

  • Around 14th Feb, when the buds are out of the bulb, move the pots inside - to a shaded greenhouse or coldframe.  Feed them with potash fertiliser ie. 1/2 strength Tomorite.  Repeat after 2 weeks.  This enhances the colour of the flower.  

  • You can stake and wind twine in a figure of eight to keep them flopping - move the twine up the sticks as it grows.

  • When the head drops, it will be in flower within 3 days.  

  • Shade to stop the sunlight burning the leaves.

  • There are 13 classes of daffodil - the first classes are dependant on the ratio of trumpet to petal.

  • When showing, add 2 leaves to the vase to set it off.

  • Use moss to hold the flowers in the vase, and a small piece of moss between the sections of a show vase will stick it together.  Add some water, and cut the stem at an angle to help the daffodil draw up the water.

  • Think about proportions - make them look nice!

  • Alternate colours if multiple blooms, and make the flower look straight at the judge.

Good luck with growing and showing your daffodils...and have fun!

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