RHS Early Daffodil Competition 28-29 March 2017

It is a long walk from the entrance at Wisley to the show venue in the large glasshouses, but a pleasant one nevertheless. Gone are the days when many of the beds were mainly bare earth and inadequate labeling was the norm. Now the beds are inviting, and although larger than most modern gardens could provide, hint at what might be achieved on a smaller scale. Tulips are my main interest, and to be honest (and a little boastful), provide a much better display than daffodils planted in the same way, with foliage which dies down far more quickly. I remember on our several trips to Holland to assess tulips for the Award of Garden Merit it being stressed that the height should be uniform and the flowers stand above the foliage, so what could be better than the ones in the bed in the above picture. Even blowing up its size I can’t read the name. Cees Breed who sadly died two days before this show began would have told me straight away, having won Holland’s annual competition for naming unlabeled tulips for so many years. I am missing him already.

Where daffodils win out over tulips is their ability to grow in grass, particularly the species both here at Wisley and at Rosemoor, as noted in that report, which quite conveniently leads me on to the Miniatures in the competition. People say that I am obsessed with miniatures; I am! Both here and two weeks ago at Rosemoor their presence was magnificent.
The three photographs of classes above are those for miniature flowers. Unfortunately the light in the glasshouses made it very difficult to get good results and therefore I apologise for the quality of the few that are shown below. John Blanchard, the inspiration for most people in the UK who admire miniatures, has always been critical of photographs which portray miniatures in close-up without giving any indication of their actual size. He is quite right and the picture below of Roundita is a perfect example as it could easily be mistaken for a photograph of standard 1Y-Y daffodils. I haven’t got an easy solution to the problem, holding a tape measure in one hand against the flower and photographing with the other just isn’t on. I do however always try to show a general photograph of the miniature flowers which if you blow it up allows you to locate an individual vase and get some indication of the relative size.

Cameo Joy
Best Bloom
Len Olive
Best Bloom
Best Seedling/Miniature
Brian Duncan
Richard Gillings
Three vases
3 blooms div 6
Richard Hilson
3 vases
3 blooms
Frankie Charlton
6 Cultivars (raised)
One entry 1st
Brian Duncan
Single Bloom (raised)
Exhibitor (?)
Churchfield Bells
Winner Div 5
Richard Tabor
Winner 2W-P
Richard Gillings
^ Bloom Collection
Dave Spencer


Winner 2Y-YYO
Frankie Charlton
Gipsy Vale
Single miniature (raised)
Brian Duncan
3 Miniatures (raised)
1 Anne Wright (LH)
2 James Akers (RH)
6 Miniatures (raised)
1 Brian Duncan (LH)
2 Anne Wright (RH)
3 Miniatures
Frankie Charlton
Three miniatures
Robin Crouchman
3 vases Species
3 blooms each
Brian Duncan
3 Miniature Cultivars
3 Blooms each
Brian Duncan

1 thought on “RHS Early Daffodil Competition 28-29 March 2017”

  1. God report James. What a contrast this year has been weather wise. We haven’t really had any winter cold, and it has allowed the miniatures at Rosemoor and the RHS Early Competition to shine. I was shocked to hear someone at the competition refer to them as “weeds”. Their grace and beauty are not dependent on their size and they are becoming recognised (certainly by the general public and those who are raising new ones) as more and more important. How many exhibits are we going to see at the end of the season? Let’s hope some exhibitors from further north have managed to keep them going.

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