Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Wild Daffodils

I know just a few places on Gower where I can find wild daffodils.  There are not many left and even where they occur, only small clumps hang on.  A few woodlands have them and there’s a place at the edge of Pengwern Common where I can be certain of finding a few.  Although this month has been cold, I find a clump in flower on the soggy bank of a stream shaded by woodland.  A remnant of how it was before the commons were cleared for grazing, this relic wood is also home to flowering snowdrops, primroses and emergent garlic leaves.  It feels ancient here.  Walking upstream past willow and hazel catkins, I flush a grey wagtail and disturb frogs courting in tiny ponds, probably made by cattle sheltering from winter weather.

I’ve timed it just right at Fairyhill.  The wooded gardens, surrounded by old limestone walls, are awash with daffodils.  This charming 18th century house, set in mature grounds, is delightful; I knew it well years ago, before it was tastefully restored and converted into an upmarket hotel.   I walk the grounds amid the thousands of blooms.  Most daffodils are cultivated, but some look wild.  Multicoloured crocuses, snowdrops and primroses also light up the woodland floor. I’m alone and it feels special.  The old house is a riot of Virginia creeper in summer, but even now the tangle of branches weave beautiful patterns on the south-facing wall.  A pair of domesticated white ducks loaf about by the edge of the pond and the rippling sound of a small stream completes an atmosphere of peace, wellbeing and affluence.  It’s certainly an expensive place to drop in for lunch, and I have dined here on rare occasions, but the flowers are free, making my coffee on the terrace feel like great value.

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