You may remember, back in February 2017, we wrote about the history of the daffodils grown here at Lower Marsh Farm by Dan and Peter du Plessis. The brothers were carrying on their fathers work of daffodil and narcissus growing on Lower Marsh Farm and eventually began to sell commercially and famously in the 1960’s.
The brothers were leading figures among daffodil breeders and Dan was the driving force behind the formation of the Cornwall Area Bulb Growers Association and latterly the vice-president of the Daffodil Society.
Our plans to identify some of species growing here progressed this year! Thanks to the Heralds of Spring Project (a Heritage Lottery funded ‘collection in the landscape’ project) here in the Tamar Valley, volunteers visited the farm during the daffodil flowering season and conducted a survey. The two ladies (Mary and Marlene) took numerous photographs and collated records of the daffodils they found here at the farm. Some varieties were relatively easily confirmed. However, quite a few specimens were rare and possibly unnamed. Mary discussed her findings from here at the farm with Ron Scamp, the nephew of the ‘du Plessis’ brothers. Ron took over their work when the brothers retired in 1990 and he continues their legacy on a farm in Falmouth. Ron’s expertise and first-hand knowledge of the ‘du Plessis’ brothers work identified a number of the varieties found.
This survey identified 47 different varieties of daffodil growing here with 38 being named; the remainder are subject to further investigation and may be classified as previously unknown varieties (presumably remnants of breeding trails which were not deemed worthy of naming!).
This year we have also planted over a 100 daffodil bulbs (in the new Bulrush Barn garden) choosing varieties developed by the ‘du Plessis’ brothers and sourced from Ron Scamp.
A great resource for finding and identification of daffodils is DaffSeek. This is a huge searchable database.
More about Herald of Spring project
During the Spring 2017 the Herald of Spring project recorded and increased awareness of the important populations of historic daffodil varieties in the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with their aim being to celebrate the importance of our historic daffodil collection, record the varieties in the landscape and to identify key areas with very special collections, capture local people’s memories about our beautiful daffodils and use this information to help safeguard the daffodils for future generations to enjoy.
The Tamar Valley AONB have produced a Daffodil Identification Swatch book which is an attractive resource with photographs and details of some of the main historic varieties in the area.