GARDEN teams at National Trust sites in Hampshire have been adapting their daffodil planting to account for the changing weather patterns.

The mild winter and wet spring have provided conditions for daffodils to thrive this spring, in contrast to last year when the country experienced the driest February in 30 years with cold snaps into March.  

Daffodils have been popping up as early as January, highlighting the impacts of a changing climate.

Paul Gallivan, south east National Trust gardens and parks consultant, said: “This year we’ve enjoyed some extremely early displays, for instance bright yellow narcissus February Gold was out in January – about two weeks earlier than usual.

“However, careful planning by our teams last autumn means we’re seeing a mix of varieties on show over a longer period than say five years ago. Here in the south we’re still enjoying beautiful displays as we approach Easter.

“In Hampshire, daffodils are covering lawns and filling borders at National Trust gardens Mottisfont, Hinton Ampner and The Vyne, while over on the Isle of Wight Mottistone Gardens also has beautiful shows.”

The Vyne, near Basingstoke

Gardener Emma Greenwood said: “We actually had quite a bit of frost here and that held our daffodils back more than in other gardens. We’ve now got lovely displays in the walled garden and plenty of late flowering varieties.

“Visitors can take bunches of our daffodils home too, for a donation. We’re really keen to give people the chance to buy local, seasonal flowers grown in an ecologically responsible way – 86 per cent of the UK cut flower market is made up of imports. All our cut flowers are grown on site, mostly from seed, using our own potting mixes, without any chemical inputs. Later in spring we’ll hopefully be able to offer tulips, and in summer sweetpeas and dahlias.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Daffodils at The VyneDaffodils at The Vyne (Image: National Trust, Robert Morris)

Mottisfont, near Romsey

Hundreds of daffodils cover the lawns and spread beneath Mottisfont’s famous Great Plane tree.

Head gardener Rob Ballard: “Daffodils actually prefer a moist soil so these conditions are perfect for them. We’ve got quite a few varieties here and they’re looking really lovely now, especially late-flowering Narcissus poeticus more commonly known as ‘pheasant’s eye’, which is pure white with a yellow and red ‘eye’, and white and yellow Narcissus Thalia, which is popping up in the borders of the walled rose garden.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Daffodils at MottisfontDaffodils at Mottisfont (Image: National Trust, Alison Marsh)

Hinton Ampner, near Alresford

Head gardener Chris Skinner said: “The majority of our daffodils this year are later flowering varieties, but these are definitely appearing early this year, possibly by as much as two weeks. The mild wet winter has seen a surge in strong healthy growth, and I think peak displays will be in the next fortnight.

“We’re also seeing rapid growth in our tulips too – we’ve got more than 10,000 planted for this year’s displays. They don’t like the damp as much as daffodils, but hopefully if we have some sunshine this Easter, we’ll get terrific, albeit early displays in April.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Narcissi at Hinton AmpnerNarcissi at Hinton Ampner (Image: National Trust, Hugh Mothersole)

Other spring displays to enjoy in Hampshire:

Magnolia at Mottisfont

Mottifont’s magnolia tree by the stableyard creates a broad canopy of scented white blossom.

In April brightly coloured tulips pop up in the kitchen garden’s raised beds and in the rose garden. Beneath the lime avenue thousands of tiny blue star-shaped chionodoxa flowers are beginning to appear.

Some 15 Mount Fuji trees burst into frothy white bloom in the orchard, releasing a honey fragrance that’s a favourite with visiting bees.

Mottisfont’s garden guides lead free themed daily walks, from history and seasonal planting.

Bluebells at The Vyne

A circular 1.4 mile walk takes visitors past the lake and down to the wetlands’ bird hide. Then it’s into the woods to see carpets of delicately scented bluebells. In the gardens blue, white and pink hyacinths fill the south terrace, and dark purple Queen of Night, pink Menton and pale Spring Green tulips in the walled garden provide bursts of colour. 

Thousands of tulips and bluebells at Hinton Ampner

In April and May this garden is awash nearly 5,000 tulips of 12 varieties. In the sunken garden visitors can orange-pink Menton and cream and green-striped Spring Green. Peony-type soft pink Angelique and rich pink fluted Mariette fill borders in the yew garden. Orange, apricot and purple colourways are on show in the kitchen garden, and there are nearly 2,000 bulbs in pots too including the spidery scarlet and yellow Tulipa acuminata.

The National Trust believes Hinton Ampner has some of the best native bluebell displays in Hampshire – in the beech woods that form part of the four mile Dutton Estate Walk.

Basingstoke Gazette: Easter with the National TrustEaster with the National Trust (Image: National Trust, Paul Harris)

Easter with the National Trust in Hampshire

There are National Trust Easter adventures, for £3, at Mottisfont, Hinton Ampner and The Vyne this spring. Dates vary, but they all take place during the school holidays and over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

From outdoor activities to games and crafts, every Easter celebration is different but each comes with a pair of bunny ears and a map to help families locate ten activity stations. Every trail ends with a chocolate egg, or a vegan ‘Free-From’ chocolate egg.

For more information go to