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Byline: Glyn Smith

TODAY Erddig Hall opens its doors for a new season, and we will once again welcome all our visitors and volunteers who bring the property back to life.

In the garden, because of the cold weather, there are very few flowers to see yet. The snowdrop flowers hang on still and there are a few crocus too. On one of the garden walls, an unusual shrub called Stachyurus chinensis is just starting to open its stiff racemes of little creamy-yellow bell-flowers.

At long last, however, the daffodils are coming out. People are often confused about the difference between daffodils and narcissi - in fact they are all narcissi, as that is the correct botanical name.

Daffodils take their common name from a corruption of asphodels, another type of bulb. Most people think of daffodils as being yellow and having large trumpets, but you can get pure white daffodils, double flowers, miniatures and multi-coloured ones too.

Nurserymen have hybridised daffodils and narcissi for so long there are hundreds of different varieties, but it is the wild Welsh daffodil that finds a place in my heart. It is not the largest of flowers, not very tall, it hangs its head a little and it is a pale yellow rather than a gaudy golden-yellow, but I like it because it looks so natural, a real wild flower. The large yellow hybrids look best in gardens and towns, but this wild Welsh daffodil is the one that should be naturalised along the roadsides.

Meanwhile there is still so much to do in the garden that I am not even thinking of getting out the lawnmowers yet, but I am thinking of applying fertiliser to the lawns to kick-start them into growth.

My thinking is that there is some moisture in the soil from all the recent rain and snow, but if the weather starts to warm up it will also dry up. Lawn fertiliser needs to be watered in, or it can burn the grass. If it doesn't rain within three days of applying fertiliser you will need to consider watering it in. Here the lawns are so extensive that I need to rely on the rain, but moisture in the soil will help too.

Glyn Smith is National Trust head gardener at Erddig Hall, Wrexham
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 25, 2006
Words:384
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