A Host of Golden Daffodils

    • Japanese maples and dogwoods are some of the most colorful trees in the fall. Plant them now and give them a head start on spring.
    • Fragrant hyacinths make a colorful display in a garden bed, or can be grown in pots. They come in red, pink, blue and white and can be planted now.
    • Naked lady amaryllis have lovely, fragrant pink flowers that bloom in late summer with little or no care. Plant the bulbs, available at local nurseries, now.
    • Check houseplants for insects. Spray leaves with insecticidal soap and wipe them off to leave them clean and insect-free.
    • Tree collards are delicious winter vegetables. Set out plants now.

Grow great daffodils

Daffodils are some of the easiest bulbs to grow. Under good growing conditions, they will live for many years and probably outlast any of us. While some kinds of bulbs tend to dwindle and die out, daffodils increase.

Daffodils come in all sizes from 5-inch blooms on 2-foot stems to half-inch flowers on 2-inch stems. They also come in a variety of color combinations.

The well-known ‘King Alfreds’ with their bright yellow, trumpet flowers are always a welcome sight. ‘Dutch Master’, the standard of yellow trumpet daffodils, introduced in 1938, is an heirloom variety. And ‘Carlton’ is a two-tone yellow daffodil whose soft yellow petals encircle a large, frilly, golden yellow cup.

‘Ice Follies” daffodils are large-flowering with creamy white petals and a butter yellow ruffled cup inside. The unique ‘Salome‘daffodil is quite showy with its ivory-white petals surrounding a magnificent salmon trumpet.

‘Sempre Avanti’ is a charming variety of large-cupped daffodil having rich creamy petals with striking orange cups that appear very early in the season. With its large yellow flowers and soft orange cups, the blossoms of the ‘Fortune’ daffodils last up to 4 weeks in mid spring.

Mixed daffodils are excellent bulbs for naturalizing. They will return year after year and are great for areas with high deer population. Plant a deer-resistant blend with Chionodoxa, (Glory-of-the-snow), to add some little blue stars to the landscape.

To grow great daffodils you should choose a well-drained, sunny place. Hillsides are excellent spots to place drifts of bulbs where they will make an eye-catching display for passersby. Hillsides and raised beds are ideal, but drainage is the key. Spade at least twelve inches deep adding well-rotted compost to heavy soils.

If planted properly, naturalized bulbs can live and bloom for many years with a minimum of care. When planting bulbs in a natural area to be left undisturbed for years, plant them deeply, so that their tops are at least eight inches deep.

Daffodils will grow in the shade of deciduous trees because they finish flowering by the time deciduous trees leaf out. However, it is better to grow them outside the drip line of deciduous trees rather than under them. Daffodils will not survive for a long time under evergreen trees and shrubs.

One reason for the longevity of daffodils is that squirrels, gophers and other rodents will not eat them. Deer also tend to leave them alone.

Daffodils bloom for almost six weeks in the spring garden. After blooming, leave the bulbs alone while the foliage is still green. The green leaves are rebuilding the bulb for the next year, and this is a good time to fertilize your bulbs. When the leaves begin to yellow, then you can cut the leaves off but not before.

Daffodils multiply, and after a few years you may need to thin them out, if they become crowded and are not blooming well. Dig them up in midsummer and replant them six inches apart.

In some cases, daffodils can be grown with ground covers. They do well planted with shallow-rooted, trailing plants, such as potentilla, creeping thyme and blue star creeper, but vigorous and deeply rooting plants, such as rosemary and ivy are likely to discourage daffodils.

“A host of golden daffodils” is certainly one of the glories of spring, and now is the time to plant daffodil bulbs. Plant a variety of daffodils for a wonderful display in the garden and a beautiful bouquet in the house.

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