IT’S bloomin’ great as Denton has made its mark in the horticultural world with a new daffodil named after the town.
The bulb has been registered with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) as Denton’s Choice in recognition of the contribution made by local growers Ken Harrop and Alan Brierley to its cultivation.
Though Ken and Alan are chairman and treasurer of the Denton Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society respectively, they are also champion daffodil exhibitors and have appeared on the television programme Gardeners World.
And it was because they are renowned for their expertise, they were asked to trial the bulb that is now listed in the grower’s catalogue.
It has been a long process with Ken, 67, explaining how it has taken almost 20 years to develop the new variety of daffodil.
He said: “Brian Duncan from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, is arguably the premier breeder in the Northern Hemisphere, and he created it in 2002 when it was seedling number 3452.
“It takes five years from the seedling to get the first flower, a long process.
“The bulb was subsequently sold to Frankie Charlton, from Choice Bulbs in Hartlepool and then went to a commercial bulb grower in Holland.
“It came back to Frankie, who we have worked with previously, and he asked us to help trial the bulb in 2017 and as a thank you for our work decided to name it Denton’s Choice.”
Ken, a retired traffic engineer with Tameside Council, described it as a large-cupped daffodil which is mainly yellow with an orange rim.
He explained the first bulbs were offered described for sale by Choice Bulbs last year and because nature is a slow progress there are probably still only about 70 in existence.
It has been grown on the Wilton Allotments which is where the Denton Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society is based and where Ken estimates he has probably trialled about 75 different daffodil seedlings for Choice Bulbs.
Ken estimates he has 300 different daffodil varieties on the allotments, either as seedlings or bulbs.
He has been growing chrysanthemums for 45 years and daffodils since 2007.
Ken said: “Derek Birkenshaw, who was president of the National Chrysanthemum Society, persuaded me to grow daffodils.
“We started with about 15 pots and it has grown and got out of hand as we have so many varieties.”
Ken and Alan show the bulbs as individuals and on behalf of their society which has about 60 members.
They compete at RHS Wisley, Harrogate Spring Show and the Daffodil Society Show, at which they have won major classes.
“When we compete, there are no cash prizes.
We do it for prestige and are not driven by monetary gain,” he said.