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Hornchurch gardener’s daffodils scoop top prizes from Royal Horticultural Society

Jeremy Wilkes with his award winning daffodil. Picture: Jeremy Wilkes Jeremy Wilkes with his award winning daffodil. Picture: Jeremy Wilkes

Thursday, April 24, 2014
9:00 PM

A keen gardener has spoken of his delight at beating the professionals to scoop three prestigious awards for his daffodils from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

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Jeremy Wilkes, 50, of St Andrews Avenue, Elm Park, describes himself as a “mere amateur” but his flowers trumped more than 2,000 others.

He won for his best seedling, which is his own breed, as well as best intermediate-sized flower and came runner-up in best overall flower at the competition last week held at the RHS Gardens in Surrey.

The daffodil breeder of 15 years said: “To win at the biggest and best daffodil show in the country is outstanding.

“It just goes to show that even an amateur like myself can compete with the professionals.

“I am so pleased as breeding daffodils takes so long.

“It usually takes five years for a new daffodil cross to flower.

“More often than not the flower’s no good – that’s a waste of five years.

“It’s a long wait, but at times like this – it’s worth it.”

He beat “fierce” competition from breeders who have catalogues of the flowers and have acres to grow them, he said.

Mr Wilkes, who is general secretary of the Elm Park Horticultural Guild, now aims to have his new breed registered.

The judges selected his flowers above the others for their colour, texture and condition.

His awards are going to be proudly presented in his display cabinet at home.

“It’s the culmination of years and years of work,” added Mr Wilkes.

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