The Daffodil Wagon

Harvest time at a small family run Cornish daffodil farm! Peter Barr’s plaque hits the road…

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We contacted Scamp’s Quality Bulbs as they had been highly recommended, not only are they a small-scale family run farm in the UK but they are also capable of supplying historic daffodil bulb varieties that would have been cultivated and pioneered by Peter Barr in his Tooting nurseries. We intend to give these out to local residents and schools as part of our ‘Blooming Tooting’ initiative, celebrating the placing of a plaque for ‘The Daffodil King’. Not only that, but over twenty years ago Ron Scamp had helped local historian and nurseryman, George Dear cultivate a daffodil named ‘Sarah Dear’ in memory of his daughter. Armed with the historic plaque and a daffodil yellow vintage camper van we made our way down to Cornwall.

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It seemed almost a journey back through time as we moved from the bustle of Falmouth, through the sprawling new housing estates and business parks, then finally into open farm land. Scamp’s Daffodil Farm is situated on the stunning South Cornish Coast tucked away from view, down a steep tree covered country lane lined with brimming hedgerows. As you reach the top, standing proud against a dramatic back drop of sea and sky is the huge green barn, testament that you have now arrived at a working farm.

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It is a busy time for daffodil growers and Scamp’s is no different. At this time of year bulbs are being lifted, sorted and made ready for dispatch. On our arrival the whole family were hurriedly sorting bulbs in the sunlit covered courtyard.
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We received such a warm welcome from Adrian Scamp and were given a tour of the farm and the opportunity to see our order being prepared. To my surprise it was not a very mechanised process at all by modern standards. I am sure Peter Barr’s Tooting Nursery wouldn’t have been much different. It only took a little imagination to remove the gentle sloping fields criss-crossed with hedge rows and place them in the once rural fertile belly of Tooting.
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Adrian’s father Ron Scamp (once a winner of the Peter Barr Memorial Cup) and founder of the family business willingly shared his detailed knowledge too. He explained that his love of daffodils started as a small boy and though now in his seventies, he still has an infectious childlike enthusiasm.
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In fact what struck this cynical Londoner more than anything about our trip to Scamp’s was the passion and love that goes into every bulb.
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Kate Filby
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