Despite the wet weather, the sunny hues and sweet, creamy fragrance of scented narcissi, a type of daffodil, are making their way to Waitrose & Partners earlier than ever.
Grown on the Isles of Scilly, on small family-run farms on St Mary’s and St Agnes, the islands have the perfect conditions for growing the flowers thanks to the warmer climate. They are also protected from the Atlantic winds in their small fields by high, natural fences and shelters such as bushes, hedgerows and trees. Customers are keen to get their bright blooms early with searches on Waitrose.com up 38% compared to last year.
Grower Andrew May, whose great-grandfather was one of the narcissi cultivation pioneers on the island comments: “We started specialising in growing Scented Narcissi over 30 years ago, around the same time we launched our cooperative to support other growers. The Isles of Scilly has the perfect climate for these spring flowers, being one of the sunniest areas in the south west, which need a little more warmth than their cousin, the daffodil. Now, alongside 15 other farming families, including Francis Hicks who lives a stones throw from the sea in a lighthouse on St Mary’s, we grow these beautiful, bright Scented Narcissi which we then pack and send for Waitrose & Partners customers to enjoy.”