How to create an amazing daffodil display

Daffodils in the Walled Garden at Wimpole Estate

Have you been inspired by the incredible daffodil displays at our places this spring? We’ve asked our gardeners for some expert advice on how you can get the best results at home.

One of the joys of planting these small affordable bulbs is that they will bring you a splash of colour in the spring.  But they are not necessarily just a plant for early spring colour – plan carefully and your display could last much longer.

Blooms until May

With the right selection of varieties you can get a daffodils flowering into May. The quickest and easiest way to get a nice, natural display is to scatter the bulbs over the area that you want to plant up to create even drifts, and then plant them using a wooden or metal spike.

First, make a hole in the ground roughly twice the depth of the bulb. Then drop the bulb in and press the bulb in firmly. It’s important to plant the bulbs deep enough to protect them from eelworms, which can stop the bulbs producing a flower.

Think about your mowing

It’s also important to think about when you cut your grass. Our top tip for getting the best display of daffodils planted in grass or meadow areas, is to do a final cut of the grass around the end of October. This will mean that the grass stays relatively short through the winter and early spring to make the best of your daffodil display when they appear.

It also means that the emerging shoots will be easier to spot as they often poke their heads up in November and then sit through the rest of the winter just above ground, so the chance of accidently stepping on them should be reduced.

Don't tidy up

If you have daffodils or tulips in your garden, don’t be in a hurry to tidy away the leaves. Let the leaves die down naturally as the bulbs will be building up energy from them to flower next year. Dead heading them as soon as the flowers fade, to help build up the bulbs food reserves.

When they have finished flowering let them die down naturally for four to six weeks, so the foliage can recharge the bulb for the following spring.

If you don’t like the sight of the dying foliage on your lawn, you may want to consider planting in the corner of the lawn, which will also enable you to keep mowing the lawn without damaging the plants.

Plan now for next year

Consider your daffodil display a work-in-progress. It’s a long time from flowering in spring to planting in autumn and it’s easy to forget what the display looks like and how you might improve it.

If you want to increase the number and variety of spring bulbs in your garden, take photos or make notes of where you have them already,  This means that you will know where to plant new ones next autumn and to remind you what colours you already have.

Thanks to our gardening experts:

Allison Napier, Gardener-in-Charge, Peckover House, Cambridgeshire
Chris Flynn, Head Gardener at Dyffryn Gardens, Wales
David Bouch, Head Gardener, Cotehele
Philip Whaites, Head Gardener, Wimpole Estate