After one of the mildest winters for several years we started cropping our outdoor daffodils on February 14, only one day earlier than last year’s bitterly cold winter and spring, writes Richard Barlow.
Last year the season was so slow that the last third of our crop missed Easter and was left in the field.
Of the 24 varieties we grow, it is the later flowering ones which look most likely to swell the piggy bank as Easter falls nearly as late as it ever can.
Our excellent flower croppers are all East Europeans, with many coming here just for the flower season and then returning home. This year several have brought with them a wheelbarrow like device so they can cart up to eight trays at a time out of the field rather than one – a great bit of initiative!
Many horticultural crops have established crop associations. Since about 2010, a Daffodils Growers Association has been trying to do this for British daffodil growers, but has found that the distances between the three main growing regions – Cornwall, Lincolnshire/Norfolk and Scotland – means it has been difficult to get growers to attend. What is now being suggested is for each region to have an occasional informal gathering of daffodil growers; so we would have an East of England Daffodil Growers group. Then a representative from each region could meet up to decide a national policy that can be communicated to bodies such as the HDC.