The one downside to growing all the plants I need for the book I’m writing is not being able to go away for any reasonable length of time. Dreams of a week away will have to be put on hold this year. I have been known in the past to take seedlings and young plants on holiday with me rather than leave them to fend for themselves but the volumes I’m growing this year would mean hiring a van just for the plants. A mobile greenhouse, now there’s a thought.
Last week we did manage to squeeze in a few days in Cornwall and whilst winter still had its grip on most of the country we escaped to the one place untouched by snow and frost. I could go on and on about why Cornwall is such an amazing place. Whether it’s the quality of the light, the stunning beaches or the rugged coastline they are all great reasons to spend some time there but it’s the milder climate and longer growing season that tempts me to live there permanently. Despite the ear-aching cold wind I was surprised at just how many plants were flowering. At home my garden was slowing clawing its way into spring. In the narrow, sheltered streets of Padstow it was hard to tell what season it was going by the plants in flower. There was lavender and scented narcissi, ceanothus and primroses. So close to the warming influence of the water, frost and snow are rare occurrences in the county, and in the tiny villages which hug the cliffs running down to the sea the extra shelter provides an enviable micro-climate. The red valerian in one garden looked like it hadn’t stopped flowering since last year.
There is one flower, perhaps more than any other that is connected to Cornwall and that is the daffodil. For centuries farmers have grown them as a crop both for cut flowers and bulbs, the milder climate allowing them to pick flowers from October right through to the end of March. I’ve always wanted to see daffodils grown on such a scale but have never visited Cornwall at this time of year before. Then coming back from a visit to Falmouth we saw fields of gold in front of us. At first I instinctively thought it was rapeseed until I realised what it actually was. I was pointing excitedly and saying ‘We’ve got to stop’. I realise that sounds a bit odd, it was only a field of daffodils after all. Finding a place to stop so I could get some photos I opened the car door to be completely surprised by the smell. Although on the side of the road furthest from the field the scent of so many daffodils drifted across to me. After all those years of thinking about how the scene would look I’d never given any thought to the fact that it would smell so amazing and I wasn’t even that close. I love it when that happens. You come across or experience something you’ve thought about for a long time and not only does it meet your expectations it exceeds them.
It was good to get a few days rest, walk on the beach and breathe in the sea air but the general aim of going away was to come back feeling re-energised and raring to go. Unfortunately the bug I picked up on the last day had other ideas. I’m blaming a dodgy mussel. I’ll spare you the details but it may be a long time before I can face seafood again.
Arabella Sock said:
I had totally forgotten seeing fields of daffodils and being amazed – we saw them near the Helford River so might be the same ones as yours.
Dodgy mussels are the pits. I had one in Jersey the first day of a short hols I was having with a friend. Ghastly – unfortunately I didn’t know you were supposed to fast after getting food poisoning so prolonged the experience by continuing to shovel food down in the hope it would push the bad mussel out the other end so-to-speak. Sorry, I over shared very naughty of me particularly when you had spared everyone the details. I prescribe loads of live yoghurt.
And there I was trying to be delicate about the subject. 😉 Having to get WM to stop the car every hour or so as we drove home so I could stand on muddy grass verges being sick whilst getting soaked by the rain wasn’t exactly the way I’d hoped to end the holiday but there you go. Yoghurt has strangely been the only thing I’ve felt like eating for the last few days. The daffodil fields were pretty impressive. Makes me want to get out to Scilly to see and smell them there.
I hope you’re feeling better, there’s nothing worse than seafood sickness. I was absolutely amazed by the daffodils, I had no idea that they were grown on that scale!
I’m getting there, thank you.:) The daffs were such an impressive sight. The tourist board should make more of them. People go to see the fields of tulips in Holland and OK the scale isn’t the same but even so it is quite a special thing to see. They should do a trail where you could perhaps visit some of the farms.
That’s a brilliant idea!
Wow! WW, that is seriously fantastic (not a word I use frequently). I share your love of Cornwall but I’ve never visited at this time of year. In fact although I knew that historically they did grow fields of Daffodils I believed that there was no longer a market it having been taken over by the Dutch – I so glad I was wrong. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful sight. Christina
It was fantastic. Apparently Britain is the biggest grower of daffs still. Nice to know that the tradition hasn’t died out. WW
I am so happy that is true. Christina
Hope you’re feeling much better now, Welly. I try to avoid seafood when away after a particularly nasty reaction to crab eaten at the Trengilly Wartha in Constantine many years ago! Love the description of fields of daffs; reminds me of the fields of sunflowers and corn in south of France, another experience you should add to your list! Cx
I am Caro, thank you. Hope you are too. Is it just me or do more people seem to have been sick this year? I’m sure it’s because we had such a dreadful summer, deprived of sunshine needed to recharge our batteries for the winter. Fields of sunflowers and lavender are on the list. 😉
Absolutely astonishing – and I would never have thought of them smelling. I remember only being aware of snowdrops smelling when I potted some up to take to a poorly friend and could smell them on the car seat next to me, so perhaps it’s the same with daffodils, except when they are in such quantity as this. Thanks for sharing, and hope you are beginning to feel a little better.
Thanks Cathy, I love the scent of daffodils anyway. I always have a sniff of them when they’re in a vase most of them do smell but the scent doesn’t really travel like other perfumes which is why I guess we don’t think of them for their perfume.
Hope you soon feel back to normal, such a shame while you were away. I’m glad you got to see the fields of daffs in Cornwall, the perfume must have been amazing! You were lucky you got away without any snow, Tresco was hit while you were away and we had some a few days ago.
I’m feeling much better thanks. I think we did well with the weather considering. We had 3 lovely sunny days. If we’d been there this week. Well I hear there are worries about flooding down there today.
Anna B said:
Hello Wellywoman! I’m glad you enjoyed your trip to Cornwall. I love it there too! Funny you should mention the mobile greenhouse. I was tasked with looking after a friends pot of passion flower seedlings a couple of years ago while she went on holiday but I had a weekend planned visiting Adam’s brother in Edinburgh so the seedlings had to go with me! The pot fitted perfectly into the drinks holder and was at just the right height and angle to take in all the light through the windscreen! I still remember the little stems dancing around as we were driving around. It was a rather nice experience taking them on holiday with us : )
Ah a girl after my own heart. I love that story and it sounds very familiar. Our drink holders have nearly always got a plant or jar of flowers in them being transported somewhere. We moved house once in April and I was determined I wouldn’t miss out on a whole growing season so sowed my seeds anyway. Then it came to the move and we had to fill the whole back of the car with baby plants and seed trays for the 200 mile journey to our new house. 🙂
Anna B said:
Aw! That’s too cute! I can just imagine them in the car, going to their new home with you! Once you get the gardening bug it can really take over. Talking of bugs, hope you’re feeling better 🙂
Much better, thank you. 🙂 Not everyone understands the plant obsession that’s why blogging and twitter are great. You don’t feel like it’s just you.
My favourite part of Cornwall is Trevose Head, I am almost envious of your trip – though not your dodgy mussel… Hope you are better now, those daffs look amazing but I wish we could share the smell, must have been quite something. Glad you got a does of sea air.
Ah Trevose Head! Constantine Bay and the the Camel Estuary looking over to Rock are mine. I love it there. one day we’ll live by the sea. I’m feeling much better thanks. The sea of daffs was pretty special. WW 🙂
Hope the mussel is well out of the system…. Re the holidays – do you have anyone who could house and greenhouse sit for a week while you escape for a break?
I’m feeling much better so good riddance to the mussel. Re plant sitting, not really. It’s quite an operation this summer combined with photo shoots and writing. There may be a window of opportunity later in the summer it just depends how much I can get done earlier and whether the weather is kind to me. And it isn’t proving to be so far. OH is doing OU degree too which we need to work around along with his job. My diary is like a military operation in it’s planning. 🙂
That doesn’t sound like much fun, the mussel experience. Last summer we wanted to go to Cornwall and Devon, only Devon alone had so many things to offer we never made it to Cornwall – next year, hopefully.
No it wasn’t. 😉 Still I’m feeling better now. I love Devon too but definitely try to get to Cornwall, it’s stunning. I can pass on some tips if you do. 🙂
Get well soon 🙂
🙂 Thank you for looking after me.
Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell, seafood does have a lot to answer for. The daffodils look stunning en masse, I can just imagine the scent. I’ve noticed my own daffodils just starting to bud so I’m anxiously waiting for them to burst in to bloom.
It certainly does. I’ve got February Gold and Tete a Tete finally flowering in the garden. Last year there were no daffs for Easter because they had all gone over due to the warm March. This year some won’t have even flowered. The weather is strange.
Would love to see fields of daffodils, looks wonderful. And you’ve put a smile on myself imagining going on holiday pulling a trailer of seedlings behind me.
They were a special sight, Andrea. Maybe we should go on Dragon’s Den with the mobile plant house concept. 😉 Niche market granted but I think it has wheels.
I’ve known ‘dedicated’ gardeners who simply refuse to go away except during the winter, if at all!
I used to visit Cornwall a lot and it certainly always been one of my favourite areas in the UK. Seeing daffodils like that, especially for the first time, is a wonderful sight isn’t it.
Sorry to see you ate a dodgy mussel, and hope that you’re now okay. I’ve never been keen on shellfish so tend not to eat them. xx
Hi Flighty, I don’t really want the garden and plot to become something I’m tied to. It’s just the way things have worked out this year and with Wellyman doing an OU degree as well it makes squeezing things in a bit awkward. He’s in his 4th year now so just 2 more years after this and it will free up some time.
The daffs were beautiful. I love or should that be loved seafood. 😉 WW x
wow, a field of daffidols, and fragrance. Something I must experence methinks! Sounds wonderful. I hope you are feeling better now.
Worth a visit if you love plants. I’m feeling much better thanks.
What a great photo and the description of the delicious smell of the daffodils. I bet Cornwall at this time of year is lovely as it will be a bit quieter. Good to have a break now to set you up for your busy year ahead with the book.
Sorry you’ve not been well. I had a really bad bout of food poisoning last year and I still have nightmares about it. Hope you feel better soon.
It was really quiet and quite a lot of places hadn’t even opened for the season. We went to Eden and there was hardly anybody there. It can get a little crazy there with all the crowds so it was nice to be able to wander around at our own pace. I’m feeling much better. 🙂
Those Daffodil fields sound amazing. Must be a wonderful feast for the senses. Hope you are better now. Exciting that you are writing a book.
Hi Bridget, They were. I wish we could have got closer but it was a bit difficult to find somewhere to park up properly.
Oh a field of daffs must be a breathtaking sight WW. I can recommend a campervan as a mobile greenhouse and they are also great for nursery visits – you can fit three apple trees in the loo area 🙂 Many sympathies on the dodgy mussel – himself suffered similarly at the end of a holiday a couple of years ago. We have both avoided mussels since. Hope that you are soon back to full fitness. Take care xxx
Anna, I like the sound of the campervan. They should be marketed to gardeners by how many plants can be fitted in them. 😉 I can just imagine them stuffed with plants. I’m feeling much better. Probably won’t be able to face mussels again though. WW