Croft 16, on the shores of Loch Ewe, w. Scotland is home to Duncan and Kate Donald,collectors and custodians of antique, pre 1934 , daffodils.They have amassed over 400 old cultivars which are planted , mostly in the raw outdoors, with only netting old palettes as windbreaks. the more deliciate varieties are tucked into poly tunnels, many of these are the tazetta group, their astonishing perfume captured and held in the sleeves of the polytunnels.
Kate has harboured a passion for vintage narcissi, following traineeship at Wisley she gained a scholarship to Tresco abbey gardens, Scilly Isles- renowned for its rich narcissi heritage. she became International daffodil registrar , he collection inevitably grew as she worked with breeders and collectors throughout the world.She and her husband moved to Scotland twenty years ago, the collection went with them, and with room to expand, the collection increased and thrives in this free draining, shingly soil on the side of the Loch. mild winters are offset by buffetting gales, but the narcissi seemingly thrive here albeit a bit battered.
These older cultivars have a certain charm, a natural gait and sometimes heady perfume.There are many specimens Kate has researched hard to reveal their identity. Baths Flame and Sulphur Pheonix are two brilliant yellow oldies, cantabile and geranium have orange eyes and white outersshe holds dear E.A. Bowles book on Narcissi, 1934 and her dream is to update this work using the with current daffodil divisions and cultivars. Kate and Duncan propogate from the collection and distribute sometiems rare bulbs annually, according to supply which outstrips demand for these treasured gems.
© Jacky Hobbs Creative Freelance