Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why I love my Daffodils by Ginger Baer

Over the past 6 years I have planted 100 self-naturalizing daffodils throughout my mountain property each fall. That’s 600 daffodils bringing sunshine every spring. I love my daffodils because they are so tough and resilient but sunny and bright.

What makes these harbingers of spring so perfect for mountain growing? They are survivors.  They can start to pop up in April, but withstand feet of snow and continue to grow until they bloom.  

April 13, 2016 before 42 inches of snow fell.
May 2, 2016 as the snow melts away.

May 6, 2016 Beautiful blooms at last!

Pocket gopher mounds in and amongst daffodils, but no damage to the bulbs.
Deer proof you say! Vole proof and gopher proof as well. Indeed. Daffodils contain a bitter, poisonous substance called lycorine that no mammal will eat. This is why I love my daffodils!

Self naturalizing daffodils will grow little bulblets that will grow and thrive and become full grown daffodils in just a few years.  You can either dig them up and divide them, or just leave them be for a fuller daffodil. The best time to divide them is after the foliage has begun to die back.  After the blooms are spent the foliage needs to be left in place so that bulb can replenish and store energy for next year’s bloom. I don’t divide my daffodils. I want them full and natural. Pretty much maintenance free. This is why I love my daffodils.

Hillside daffodils.
I plant a mixed variety of daffodils (to be safe, look for varieties hardy to zone 3). I usually plant them during the last week of September. I generally plant them 6 – 8 inches deep, using a planting augur that I attach to a power drill. Planting in September usually gives them a chance to establish before the first snow flies. In using a mixed variety of bulbs I find that I have blooms that last for 6 weeks or more. I plant on sunny southern exposed hillsides as well as I the understory of the ponderosa pines where they get filtered sunlight. Remember, they are tough and resilient.  This is why I love my daffodils.

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