Christmas may be seem a little early for daffodils but, with the evenings becoming ever so slightly lighter, and New Year almost upon us, in no time at all it will be Spring, in the UK. As I get older I cannot wait for Spring and adore Summer.
2007 saw our garden under water in the June Floods and my garden, and many of its perennials, took a battering. Having said that some of my daffodils were amongst the survivors. These hardy bulbs seem to be able to stand what ever the weather may throw at them and come up smiling the next year.
Autumn is the perfect time for planting daffodil bulbs in your garden. This means that ou will have a lovely, bright display of these yellow, white and orange beauties the next Spring.
Daffodils are also know as Narcissus. Narcissus is a classical Greek name. It was for a handsome youth, who was so entranced with his own beauty that the Gods turned him into a flower. Well Daffodils are definitely beautiful flowers, although they are often overlooked as common or garden.
Their flowers can be white or yellow, with varying shades of intensity, or mixtures of white and yellow. Daffodils are purchased as bulbs, which look a little like onions, and come in many varieties. Take care not to leave these bulbs where children or animals could reach them, as like most bulbs, they are dangerous if eaten.
It is possible to purchase the bulbs loose, either by weight or by an amount of bulbs, from many garden centres but they are often purchased in packets, which may contain anything from 5 to 50 bulbs. Try to buy bulbs that look fresh and have no mold on them.
When you get these bulbs home you do not have to plant them immediately but it is best not to leave it too long before you do so. The miniature, or dwarf, daffodils have tiny bulbs and are perfect for growing in pots and containers. When they have finished flowering you can plant them into a window box or tub and these will soon became established. Some of these miniature daffodils have white petals but they do resemble full size varieties.
Daffodils are usually planted in the Autumn depending when you want them to flower. If you stagger the time of planting slightly, if outside, you will have daffodils about to flower, as others are dying off. This will give an extended period of colourful daffodil flowers in your garden.
A daffodils normal flowering time, though, is Spring. You can plant daffodils in any way that you like but, for best visual results, plant them in groups of 5 or 7, or one very large group of bulbs.
Leave a little space between each bulb and plant down to a depth of about a couple of inches. I like yellow and purple together in the garden and so have some grape hyacinths planted in with my daffodils.
I usually just leave my daffodils in the earth but you really should lift your daffodil bulbs, at least occasionally. You will find tiny new bulbs growing from the main one and these should be separated and replanted. If you never separate them, you may find that, eventually, your bulbs are blind, in that they will grow green leaves but not flower.
Daffodils are great for providing bright sunny colour, in the garden in Spring. They are ideal for pots, window boxes, in rose beds, in grass, flower beds and more. They are also wonderful cut and displayed in vases around your home. They certainly chase any lingering winter blues away.
Make sure that you buy a variety of daffodil that suits your planting needs.
Daffodils tend to like full sun or light shade, so do not plant them in dark corners of your garden. They do, however, tolerate cold temperatures pretty well and actually seem to like cool places. The best soil for them seems to be moist, well drained and on the heavy side. I suppose that is why they seem to thrive in my front garden, which has heavy soil. Daffodils do like plenty of water but not too much. If you are planting in pots though avoid leaving them in stagnant water as they don't like this.
After flowering it is best to leave the bulbs top growth and not cut them back. I usually cut some daffodils back before they flower properly, to display indoors in vases. However, after flowering, I leave the green leaves and dying flowers about 5 or 6 weeks until the dead leaves and flower stalk can be just pulled off the bulbs.
If you do this you will have a good display of daffodil flowers the next year. It helps the appearance after they have flowered, during this dying process, if you have planted them amongst something which will be coming into all it's glory, as this decaying process is beginning.
There are too many varieties to list here, so I will just mention my favourite daffodil. Poet's Narcissus is a good variety as it has creamy white flower petals, a bright orange yellow flower centre, or trumpet, grows up to 17 inches high and can be forced to flower early in Spring, actually in February, and has lovely scented flowers.
Daffodils in the garden are around for a fair few weeks in Spring. The flowering stage should be a few weeks and so there is welcome colour for quite a while. A vase of cut daffodils in the home should last one or two weeks. However this will depend on your room temperature and where the flowers are placed.
As a cheap and cheerful flower the Daffodil is often overlooked in the displaying and the growing sense. For me though, there is nothing better than a couple of bunches of bright yellow daffodils, displayed in your home in early March. Cheap they may be, but they scream Winter's nearly gone and the sun is on it's way.
So with last week's snow still frozen on the ground where I live, today, Christmas Day, seems a perfect time to look forward to Spring and daffodil's, warm glow.