LAST weekend saw the return of the Cotehele Daffodil Festival, an annual celebration of dazzling daffodils in the Tamar Valley, running from March 16 to 24. 

The festival offers a chance for garden lovers and families to see Cotehele’s collection of more than 300 varieties of historic daffodils, including 200-year-old heirloom varieties.  

Every year, the garden and estate bursts into colour, signalling the arrival of spring and the start of a very special season. This year, Cotehele’s gardeners are marking the occasion with their displays and traditional daffodil archway. Hours of work and 2,500 daffodils go into decorating the archway into Hall Court which is on display until Monday, March 20.  

Elsewhere, the packing shed will be decorated with dozens of blooms by the team from Tamar Valley National Landscape as a nod to market gardening, and the rooms in the house will boast beautiful daffodil arrangements. There will also be a slate trail highlighting heritage varieties around the garden, a free children’s trail and an opportunity to take a closer look at individual flowers in the East Range lobby of the house. 

Dave Bouch, National Trust head gardener at Cotehele said: “Daffodils are a welcome sight after a long winter, with the first glimpse of bright yellow reminding us that spring is on its way. Daffodils are much more varied than people may realise, and we are particularly proud of our collection which pays tribute to the heritage of the Tamar Valley while showing off nature at her finest.”

Taking a looking back at the region’s rich market gardening heritage, there is a daffodil audio tour which can be found on Cotehele’s website, telling the story of market gardening in the Tamar Valley and the collection at Cotehele.

In 2022, the gardeners and rangers planted 5,000 ‘Fortune’ daffodils in rows in the Millennium Orchard.

Normal admission applies (free for members). The festival falls on National Lottery open week, where lottery players can visit Cotehele and other participating places for free with a valid lottery ticket or scratch card, and under 18s can accompany a lottery ticket holder for free.

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