Sunday, April 11, 2010

Petite Daffodils

Does the sight of vibrant yellow daffodils gladden your heart like it does mine? I love them all, the old-fashioned 'King Alfred', the fancy doubles, the pure white of 'Mt Hood' and the late-blooming 'Actea', and of course, the jaunty little 'Tete-a-Tete', which bloom early and often in clusters. Easy to grow, easy to pick, and critter-proof, all daffodils really want is a place in the sun and a handful of Bulb-tone now and then.

Though I admire them all, I only grow daffodils that naturalize reasonably well. The ruffled pink ones are delectable, for instance, but it seems the farther away from the basics the cultivar is bred, the less hardy it is. I want my daffs to last for many years in the garden.
Some pointers:

  • Choose firm bulbs, and plant in decent, well-drained soil, in full sun.
  • When picking, pull 'n twist the flower stalk from the base.
  • After bloom, remove the withered blossom, but leave the leaves. Do not fold, spindle or mutilate. Those declining leaves are making food for next years' show. If they want to hang around until July, let 'em.
  • Fertilize 3x a year. Once when leaves first emerge in spring, once when flowering is finished, and once in autumn.

But do enjoy your daffodils, and plant more every autumn, so that you, too can appreciate their exuberance in the April garden.

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