Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Daffodils make a great gift

Growing plants in a greenhouse can be a hugely rewarding task for green-fingered enthusiasts. There are so many little extra benefits that can be gained from the task as well. For instance, keeping a small herb garden to complement indoor cooking activities is very popular.

Something else at the forefront of everyone's mind at this time of year is giving gifts. However, with all the hustle and bustle – and not to say excesses – of high street shopping, this can quickly become quite the stressful task!

One great way for gardeners to avoid having to deal with this is by growing their own presents for their friends, family and loved ones throughout the year. This could be even better than a shop-bought gift. Anyone can head down to the local stores, but spending time and care on something that requires your own very special skills can add a lovely personal touch.

Author of The Allotment Keeper's Handbook Jane Perrone singled out the dwarf daffodil as a great choice for this purpose. In an article for UK national newspaper the Guardian, she explained that it is best given away by the basketload.

The daffodil is a genus of mainly hardy, mostly spring-flowering, herbaceous perennials in the Amaryllidoideae subfamily of the Amaryllis family.

It is also known by its Greek binominal name of Narcissus. This comes from the figure of the same name in classical mythology, who became so obsessed with his own reflection that as he knelt and gazed into a pool of water, he fell in and drowned. In all versions of the tale, the daffodil plant sprang up from where he died.

"When it comes to spring bulbs, there is nothing more cheery than a pot of the diminutive daffodil 'Tete-a-tete'," commented Ms Perrone, adding: "At 15cm… potted daffs would also make a good table centerpiece."

Bulb advisory website Gardenseeker noted that the plants are easy enough to grow in pots – although they will sometimes require the protection of the greenhouse.

In terms of planting, it was noted that dwarf daffodils in particular are usually kept aside as permanent fixtures. They are also said to benefit from particularly dry soil – so too much watering will not be necessary.

Gardenseeker added that around 2.5cm should typically be sufficient depth to aim for when planting – which is one of the reasons they are so easy to grow in containers or maintain when transferred indoors.

When they are transferred outdoors, they will also be able to occupy spaces where the soil may be too shallow for many other plants to grow.

"Once they've finished flowering, tease out the bulbs from the compost and replant in the garden or an outdoor pot in sun or partial shade, at a depth of one-and-a-half times their height," recommended Ms Perrone.

"This will ensure another flush of flowers next spring," the expert added, also warning that: "Some people find daffodil sap a skin irritant, so wear gloves when dealing with them."