Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Daffodil Walk

My garden is radiant with gorgeous daffodils. Their lovely faces brighten this miserably cold April day. Undaunted by the biting wind and snow flurries, they exude everything SPRING.
She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    "Winter is dead.”
--A.A. Milne

I planted them along the path to the front door. My mother-in-law grew some there many years ago and we remember them fondly, but somehow a landscaper removed them. When I took over the landscaping, I planned on replacing the daffodils, but never got around to it until last fall. I described how we planted them here. When H.H.'s sister visited and happily said, "Mom's daffodils are back!" I wished I had replaced them sooner. After all, I have daffodils in many other areas of the garden.

Daffodil Walk
What a miracle, that these turned into such beautiful flowers!
These are White Flower Farm's weatherproof daffodil mixture -- good choice considering our weather!
There is confusion over the name of this plant. Is it daffodil, narcissus or jonquil? According to the University of Missouri, "both daffodil and narcissus are correct. Narcissus is the generic botanical name given these plants in 1753. In England, however, the plants were commonly known as daffodils. This term was carried to other countries by English-speaking people. Jonquil refers to a specific kind of narcissus, and is not correct for the group in general. True jonquils have a reedlike leaf and sweet-smelling flowers. Narcissus, then, is the correct botanical name for the genus; daffodil is the correct common name for all members of the genus; and Jonquil correctly refers to one particular division of the genus." -- David Trinklein, Division of Plant Science, U. of Missouri.

I  love the frilly cup of this daffodil.

I follow Perdue's Department of Horticulture's advice,
"Remove flowers as soon as they begin to fade. This not only makes the plants look better, but it also prevents undesirable seed development. Seed development results in smaller bulbs the next year."
I'm not sure what I'll do when the Daffodil Walk's plants die back and start to look ugly.  I don't take off the leaves until they are turning brown, as they are still manufacturing food, flowers are forming for the next season, and the bulbs are maturing. If I decide to tie the dying foliage together to make the bed tidier, I must not do it until a month after the flower dies, so it's really not worth the trouble. I feel my best course of action is to plant groundcovers, annuals, or perennials to hide the dying plants. It is a full-sun area, so hostas and ferns (good daffodil companion plants) are not options. Also, the daffodils are planted close together, so there's not much room for planting between them. In my other daffodil beds, the companion plants came before the daffs., so I didn't have this problem. Daylilies are always suitable. What would you plant to hide the dying foliage?

My favorite with its distinctive corona.
Daffodils need little care during the spring. I fertilize my established bulbs with bonemeal just as the leaves begin to come up. I scatter it around each clump, being careful not to get it on the new leaves or they may be burned. Do not fertilize bulbs once they begin flowering as this encourages bulb rot and may shorten the life of the bulb. Daffodils need plenty of water during and after flowering. In the summer, when the bulbs are dormant, they should be kept fairly dry.

This bed is nearly ten years old.
I need to separate some of the daffodils in the more established beds. I will dig the bulbs as soon as the tops begin to die back. The dying tops help locate bulbs and make digging easier. I will replant the bulbs immediately, because if I store them, I may forget.

Daffodils in the perennial border.

Tahiti -- my favorite daffodil.
Beautiful bloom waiting in the wings.
Daffodils are not bothered by insects and diseases. Most important: deer wont eat them! The latter is the best reason to grow them I think, especially since deer munched several buds off my tulips last night. 

"... my heart with pleasure fills,
and dances with the daffodils."
-- William Wordsworth

Happy Gardening!
Pamela x

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  1. We just let daffodils go until the foliage is yellow and then mow. Plant something sensational nearby to draw the eye away until daffodils are done.

    Overseeding in fall with things like poppies and larkspur works some years. Mama always planted Shirley poppy (P. rhoeas) over her tulips.

    1. I like the idea of planting something sensational nearby!

  2. Your daffodils are beautiful! I love them because they are so easy and they give so much joy after winter. Many of the daffodils in my garden came from rescue missions to abandoned and threatened properties, often right ahead of the bulldozers.

  3. Beautiful! Spring was worth waiting for, wasn't it?

    1. Yes, Dorothy, but the weather is awful -- snow flurries all day today and so COLD. I'm way behind with my garden chores. Thanks goodness for the cheery daffodils.

  4. Tahiti is my favorite too. They are the brightest and....well....just beautiful. You daffodils are amazing. Sorry it's snowing there, that just isn't fair.

  5. Oh Pamela, this looks amazing!!! Fantastic, beautiful spring in your garden!!!
    Happy weekend and all my best from Austria

  6. They look fabulous. I remember when you planted the daffodil walk, it's lovely to see it now in all its splendour, definitely worth the effort.

  7. What an entrance! Very welcoming indeed.
    I'm not so sure how plants behave in your climate but what about some clump forming hardy geraniums, their foliage and height comes just at the right time here.

    1. Excellent, Angie! My favorite, Roxanne, would be fabulous there. And so easy and reliable. Thank you so much!

  8. Love your daffodils they are one of the few bulbs I can plant that the deer and other animals leave alone. Looking at your pictures you could probably put something small just as marigolds between the walkway and the daffodils and then maybe something a bit higher behind the daffodils.

    1. I agree about the deer! Thank you for your suggestions.

  9. You do have a plethora of daffodils, Pam. Your garden screams spring happiness. That was a lot of work making those two trenches along the walk with a beautiful result. I agree, the foliage will look awful for a while. Tying them back is not a good option though. Cornell advises against it. At least you are going to wait a month though.

  10. Glad to see that spring is there in spirit even if the warmer weather has stepped out for a few days. My fingers are crossed for Saturday!
    Your new walk is beautiful, but your massed plantings really steal the show!

  11. Beautiful walk. I love daffs too and now I know the difference between the names....I would plant daylilies might want to move some to add lavender or roses in full many possibilities. I have to divide a few clumps as well this year. They say you really don't have to cut the flowers off so I don't and I have no issues with the bulbs....they are still flowering large and strong...might save you some work. Lots of great info Pam!

  12. I also love daffodils! Their cheery yellow faces come at the time when our eyes are quite winter weary. But come May and June, I'm fed up with their foliage still hanging out all messy in my garden! It's a double edged sword for me. I've vowed not to plant any more, but to simply enjoy those I already have.

  13. I love Tahiti as well! So far I have only the bold yellow King Alfred type daffs blooming, but there are lots of the buds on the others, so hopefull they'll open up soon! I'm right there with you, too, on having to re-plant the divisions right away to avoid forgetting them in the fall!
    The front walk is beautiful. Sorry I have no suggestions for masking the foliage after bloom.

  14. Daffodils I feel are the Spring bulbs you can depend on, yours are looking great. There are so many to choose from and you simply run out of space for them. Daffodil, narcissus! I have always pondered over this, back in the 70s/80s the fashion at the time seemed to be, those with very short trumpets were referred to as narcissus.