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A host of Golden Daffodils

A Norham connection for a new on-line Exhibition from the Royal Horticultural Society

All around Norham, daffodils are starting to come out, announcing the arrival of Spring.

They are now coming out in public places – on the village green, in the church yard, on the church yard walls, on the side of the roads.

They are also appearing tucked away in private gardens away from view.

Some are newly planted, others may have been around for many years


Daffodils have been known by a number of different names in different parts of the country -

Lenten lilies, flowers of March, trumpet flowers and


There are hundreds of varieties, with different shapes, sizes and colours –

from white and pale cream to pale yellow, dark yellow and orange.

A lot of these early ones are golden.


The Royal Horticultural Society has set up an on-line exhibition about the history of daffodils in this country. It’s just been opened and its title ‘a Host of Golden Daffodils’, recalls William Wordsworth's poem. The exhibition uses The RHS’s large collection of water colours and drawings of daffodils to illustrate the story of the popularity of this spring flower over the centuries.

What then is the Norham connection?

One of the paintings in the exhibition (but I do not think any of the photos shown above) was done by Margaret Rebecca Dickinson, the talented botanical artist, botanist and gardener who was born 200 years ago and who lived in Norham for 50 years. This painting is of a golden version of the daffodil – Narcissus Carnbie. Miss Dickinson painted the picture in Norham and also grew the daffodil in her garden in Norham, where it flowered in May 1889.

The RHS's digital exhibition, 'A host of Golden Daffodils' is free and open to the public from the 11th March.

There's also a talk at the end of the month

Charlotte Brooks, Art Curator at the RHS is giving a talk on daffodil illustrations to accompany the exhibition on Wed 31st March from 6-7pm.

The talk is free-of-charge for both members and non-members of the RHS.

However, places are limited and advance booking is required via the following

The RHS has a album of 29 more of Miss Dickinson’s daffodil water colours in their Lindley Library Collection. She painted the flowers between 1886 and 1893 and grew most of them in her Norham garden.

One in particular, Narcissus poeticus, seems to have been a long term favourite. She noted that she had collected the roots from Prudhoe Castle in the 1830s, grew the plant in her garden in Newcastle, then took it to Gattonside when she moved there in the 1850s. Finally she dug it up again to bring to her family home in Norham in 1869.

A loved and very well-travelled daffodil.

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