Holland tiptoes to Lincolnshire

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Dutch growers have been forced to tiptoe through the daffodils of Lincolnshire to find enough bulbs for their world famous flower festival.

Organisers have sent an SOS to British growers because the cold spring has left many of Holland's flower fields bare.

Bulb firm OA Taylor of Holbeach is sending more than 100,000 daffodils to the Netherlands for the parade, which forms the centrepiece of the festival and begins in Haarlem this weekend. It attracts thousands of tourists from all over Northern Europe.

"We've never had English flowers in the Dutch parade before so this is a complete one-off," explained firm director John Taylor. "The weather has been so cold over there that they have just got nothing through the ground."

Chilly temperatures have also posed problems for home growers in recent weeks. Daffodils were scarce for Mother's Day and St David's Day and Mr Taylor said many varieties were still three weeks behind. "It's been bad here but it's been much worse on the continent," he added. "In the past they would probably have put the festival back. But now it's such a big event that it has to go ahead on the set date."