Scotland’s Daffodil Festival is taking place on 11 and 12 April.
The event will take place at Backhouse, at Rossie Arts Garden in Fife. Caroline Thomson is an artist and sculptor who is a direct descendent of the Backhouse family, the renowned Quaker botanist and ethical banking family from Yorkshire – and is filled with the enthusiasm and dedication that drove her forebears.
This year’s special guests are the RHS International Bulb Committee.
Caroline said: ‘We went through two rounds of applications for the successful approval by the RHS to fund the Bulb committee’s new chairperson (Teresa Clements), the former chairman (Jan Pennings for six years), vice-chairman (John Gibson), and senior committee member (Allan Ship, holder of the National Collection of Hyacinths) to come to Scotland to give expert talks on Tulips, Narcissus and Hyacinths, and hold Q&A sessions for the Festival visitors.
Caroline said: ‘The RHS Bulb Committee have never held an outfacing event before in Scotland ever, nor has it never had a female chairperson. Teresa Clements is their first and we are delighted to welcome her here for the first time.
‘There is no other National Daffodil Festival in the UK this is a first. Nowhere else in the world can this unique collection of Backhouse daffodils be seen.
‘It is a fantastic opportunity for horticulture/botany/plant identification/students and anyone interested in growing bulbs in their homes or gardens to experience what may well be a unique opportunity in Scotland to listen to such an experienced group of knowledgeable bulb people the RHS Committee experts talks covering a wide range of bulbs, changes in care, growing techniques, forcing bulbs in the home, the future of the industry, and the opportunity to ask lots of questions.’
Caroline is proud of his ancestors’ achievements, and is proud to carry on their work today (click HERE to read more about the history of Backhouse).
She said: ‘We collect the daffodils bred by my forbears the Backhouse Family of Quaker Botanists. The main lawns at Backhouse Rossie Estate are covered with swathes of daffodils, against clear blue skies, fluttering in the breeze, with views across the fields where sheep and lambs graze, to the Lomond hills, 300 million year old volcanic eruptions now a famous landmark in Fife.
‘Plant hunting for these daffodils has been a labour of love, my husband Andrew and I have travelled thousands of miles over the last 15 years to find them. The accreditation of the collection by Plant Heritage was the catalyst to share these lovely flowers with people who would like to see them and thousands of other daffodils.
‘It’s a chance to hear more about the history and future of daffodils, in medicine, as they are used to treat Alzheimers disease, and as spring flower tourism to increase visitors to the area and in export because the UK still supplies 90% of the world’s daffodil needs. The largest grower in Scotland, Grampian Growers, is just to the north of Fife and we are grateful for their ongoing support of the Festival.’
Daffodil Festival visitors can take a walk through time discovering daffodil hybridising history. The woodland walk is fringed with the original Backhouse cultivars descendants the grandchildren and great grandchildren which leads to a hidden covenanters ruined tomb, scented daffodils surround the bears on the infants Bear Walk, the National Daffodil Collection, spring flowers, flower filled lawns with views of the hills, and display stands full of daffodils sent by growers from around the UK will be made available for sale in the autumn.
For tickets, booking for talks, tours and more, visit www.backhouserossie.co.uk.