The spring bulbs at Minterne Gardens are erupting into colour one by one, which must be a sure sign of the season changing. Daffodils have long been considered one of the heralds of spring. Planted in autumn, they spend several months developing roots before the flowers burst forth in spring and are always a welcome sight after the long winter. We currently have a wonderful display of daffodils at Minterne which can be found along the banks of Cherry Avenue & the Scented Garden
The words ‘Daffodils’ and ‘Wordsworth’ go hand in hand.
The most famous poem in the English language was composed in 1804, two years after Wordsworth saw the flowers while walking by Ullswater on a stormy day with Dorothy, his sister.
His poem starts with an evocative image of daffodils:
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze
Around the same time the early 1800’s marked the beginning of the Victorian Plant Hunters; and Robert Digby created the cascades that we see here at Minterne today.
Although Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ is one of the most famous and widely read poems in the English language, daffodils were probably not Wordsworth’s favourite flower. He wrote no less than three poems about the tiny Common Pilewort (Celandine) which blossoms in early spring and are currently making showing at Minterne.
Narcissus is a genus of predominantly spring perennial plants in the Amaryllidaceae family. Various common names including daffodil, daffadowndilly, narcissus, and jonquil are used to describe all or some members of the genus.
Formerly a common plant of traditional meadows, ancient woodlands and hedgerows, it was picked in profusion across the country for many celebrations. But the loss of these habitats to the advancement of agriculture caused a serious decline in Cowslip populations and now fields coloured bright yellow with the nodding heads of Cowslips a rare sight.
Primroses & Cowslips will also be putting in an appearance, at Minterne Gardens. The Cowslip is a cousin of the Primrose and is also an early spring flower. It’s closely associated with English folklore and tradition, including adorning garlands for May Day and being strewn on church paths for weddings.
Speaking of weddings, we are currently taking viewings and bookings for weddings at Minterne in 2016 /2017. If you or a loved one are expecting to tie the knot get in touch soon as spring begins to reveal how beautiful a wedding at Minterne can be.
Our new Head Gardener Mark Bobin started in the garden in late December and as well as working hard to prepare Minterne for its February opening he even found time to be interviewed for BBC Radio Solent, not once – but twice! You can listen to Mark discuss many of the secrets to cultivating a wild-woodland garden such as Minterne’s and the unique characteristics of gardening in a valley. by visiting our media page here.
Do you have any favourite gardening quotes or poetry? How are your Daffodils , narcissus and jonquil? We would love to hear your thoughts and comments and look forward to seeing you in the garden during March.
Gardens Open Daily
10am – 6pm * 1st February to 11th November * Admission Price £6.00 (Children under 12 Free)
Season Tickets Available Here
Dogs welcome on leads * Parking is FREE for visitors in the car park opposite St Andrews Church * Minterne currently offers a selection of cream teas (weather permitting - please phone ahead to confirm) * Please note: Unfortunately, Minterne Gardens feature many uneven surfaces and are therefore NOT SUITABLE for wheelchairs * Minterne House itself is a private residence and therefore not open to the public without prior consent.