We’ve hoped, we’ve crossed our fingers, we’ve waited…and now it looks like spring has finally arrived in Swettenham. The daffodils and crocuses are just coming into bloom around the pub and in the Arboretum, and there’s finally a bit of colour in the garden and some buds on the trees.
Just inside the gate of the Arboretum, you’ll find clumps of daffodils lending a cheerful air to the landscape. We think of daffodils as a quintessentially British flower – but did you know they’re native to a lot of places, including North Africa, Portugal, Italy and western France? In fact, Spain has the greatest variety of native species – daffodils seem to love it there, although they prefer the cooler nothern areas of the country.
Daffodils have been cultivated for thousands of years, in fact they were listed as domestic plants in around 300BC. They were introduced into the UK by the Romans, who valued the sap from the leaves as having healing powers. (In fact, the sap can irritate skin, so don’t try this at home!)
These bright yellow flowers really came into their own in the 19th century, when botanists started to classify and cultivate the different varieties. Now, many of the daffodils you see in gardens are cultivars, although it’s still easy to source the native British bulbs online and in garden centres. These are long lasting and are the easiest type of daffodil to grow, and will produce a mass of golden flowers from late March to early May.
It feels like it’s been a long, hard winter this year, so why not shake the dust from your walking boots and join us one weekend for a wander through the Arboretum? There’s still quite a nip in the air, so head into the pub afterwards for a warming hot drink or a bowl of soup. We can get busy at the weekends, so it’s best to book a table if there are several of you – we welcome dogs and muddy boots in our bar area.