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After a long cold winter, there are few things more guaranteed to raise the spirits than the sight of early daffodils and their close cousins, the narcissi. They’re also always a welcome arrival in the garden because they pop up year after year without the need for much effort on our part. Daffodil bulbs are widely available at very reasonable (and sometimes very low – check out places like Poundland) prices and yet once you’ve put them in the ground, they will come back year after year without any substantial effort from the gardener.
Whilst dafs are really cheap and easy and well within both the financial means and the gardening skills of pretty much anyone, you can of course spend a lot more money if you want to buy fancier bulbs from specialist nurseries. My personal favourite sites for buying bulbs and plants are Thompson and Morgan and Haloft Plants. Taking a quick look even at this totally unseasonable time of year, T&M have a wide variety of bulbs available from as little as a few pence each up to a couple of pounds per bulb for rare fancies.
You don’t need an enormous garden to grow dafs – in fact you don’t really need a garden at all as bulbs will grow happily in a planter on the patio or in a window box. Some will even grow indoors. If space is limited, there are lots of miniature varieties that take up less space than the standard size.
When I was a child, the habit of most gardeners was to twist and tie the stems after the flowers had finished blooming but these days I don’t see that being done very much at all and I’ve never done it myself. The most recent news this year on dafs was that supermarkets had to be instructed to not put their daffodils anywhere near their vegetable sections because people who didn’t know what they were had been trying to cook them.
Daffodils are a flower that is associated with Springtime in the UK. Their presence is a sign that the winter weather has abated and their cheery yellow bonnets are beloved by many. The flowers are of course famously celebrated by William Wordsworth in his poem 'Daffodils' in which he refers to the blooms as being "jocund company" and a sight he would remember in moments of reflection.
Daffodils have always been a welcome flower in my garden. They always look so beautiful but I also feel that they serve an important purpose in providing early nectar for insects like queen bees that are coming out of hibernation. There are different varieties of daffodils and it can be nice to plant a mixture in your patch. They generally come in shades of bright yellow, pale yellow and white (although you can also get shades of pink/orange). They have a flat star shape of petals with a golden trumpet at their centre. Their height varies according to the position they have been planted in or their variety. There are dwarf varieties, for instance. Also, bulbs planted in the shade tend to grow taller to reach the sunlight. They have a long, tender stalk and thin green leaves. Daffodils have a unique appearance and are particularly striking when planted in large quantities close together to one another.
You can buy Daffodil bulbs from garden centres, some supermarkets and stores like Wilko's in the UK. Bulbs are large and shaped like a teardrop. They are around a few inches long and often have a thick pale green shoot beginning to grow out of the thin end whilst the broader end has a beard of thin white roots. Bulbs can be planted in the UK from August and can be planted until December, although earlier planting is generally recommended. The bulb should be firm to handle and then planted at about 5-6 inches deep with around 8 centimetres between each bulb.
Daffodils are generally considered to be a flower that blooms in March and April but their growth patterns depend a lot on the weather. For instance, Daffodils will usually start to emerge in January but mine are already half way grown already and it's not even the end of December! They are a flower that will withstand colder periods however they often tend to snap in high winds. This is my only issue with the flower. I often end up picking up any broken flowers and putting them in a vase indoors.
Daffodils will return year after year as long as the bulbs are left in place and are healthy. Once the flower has died off let the leaves die away rather than cutting them back as this allows the nutrients in the foliage to return to the bulb and strengthen it for next years growth.
I would recommend these golden flowers to anyone who enjoys cheerful and pretty garden displays!
I adore daffodils, if pushed I think I'd say they were my favourite flower and I find it so sad that they only last for such a short time - not only the flowers themselves but once Spring arrives and the first few daffodils start flowering you know there's a window of a one or two weeks where you can enjoy their beauty before they die off until the next year. In every other house I've lived in I've always dedicated a patch for a display of daffodils, but since moving into this house two years ago I haven't bothered simply due to the fact that we now live directly facing a field/hilly area which is carpeted in them for a couple of weeks each Spring (this is great as our current garden isn't massive and it frees up a load of room to plant other things!)
Growing daffodils is easy peasy. You buy the bulbs and plant them straight into the ground in Autumn, one thing to be aware of is that when you dig your hole for the bulb make it much larger than the bulb itself and fairly deep too - then when you cover it with soil try and do it as loosely as possible while still giving the bulb support so it's not rolling around inside the hole. Remember where you've planted them and water regularly, you don't need to do much other than that and don't be tempted to over-water them as daffodils are adept at getting what they need from nature so don't need as much help as you think.
Then you wait. In Spring they'll pop up as slender green shoots but daffodils grow remarkably quickly and they're actually a very good plant to grow with children as they change through the various stages so quickly that there's no time for the kids to get bored of their creations - obviously there's nothing you can do about the length of time it takes for the daffs to show themselves above ground but to be honest once the bulbs are planted the kids' usually forget about them until I drag them outside in March to show them the plants have started to grow!
You can get daffodils in the traditional yellow plus orange and white, there are varieties where the trumpets contrast with the petals and I really do think those are strikingly beautiful - at certain times of the year you can buy potted daffodil plants that have mini daffs in and I love those too.
The only thing I miss about growing them in my own garden is picking some for in a vase, of course it's illegal to pick wild flowers so I leave the ones growing on the fields alone - although I might be tempted next year, depends how rebellious I'm feeling!
Daffodils are bulb flowers that have a trumpet shape in the middle of the flower which has 6 petals around it, the traditional daffodil is bright yellow but i have this year brought me some in white.
Daffodils are very popular flowers usually associated with easter, i think this has more to do with the fact that they are one of only a few flowers which bloom this early in the year than anything else though.
Daffodils are quite tall usually about 1 1/2 foot tall but there are dwarf species available which is the ones i brought last year in the white i mentioned earlier, these look beautiful inbetween my large daffodils and are a lot better as my large daffodils have a tendancy to get blown over in the wind, these are a lot shorter so they dont get battered by the weather.
Daffodils begin to flower at the end of february, they are realy easy to grow and are an ideal way to give a little colour to the usually dull gardens at the end of winter.
You will need to plant your daffodil bulbs at the end of september, about 6 inches into the soil and dont plant them too close together as these return every year with more and more flowers so if you put them too close together they wont get enough light or nutrients, about 1 to 1 1/2 foot apart will do nicely.
Once your daffodils have finished flowering dont cut the leaves and stems off untill they die as they are a good light source for your bulb which is already getting ready for next year.
I love daffodils as it is not something i have to replace every year, once planted you can forget about them and year after year enjoy flowers at the begining of spring.
When you think of spring what do you imagine? Lambs jumping in the fields, warmer days, lighter evenings? I think of fields of Daffodils, lining the road edge and clumped under trees in the local park.
The Daffodil has to be one of the happiest and refreshing flowers there are and I love the bright yellows and paler whites of the various Daffodil types there are. The most common daffodil you will see and probably be aware of is the Trumpet Narcissus. This is the variety that has one large trumpet like flower (usually bright yellow) on top of a larger, sturdy pale green stem and leaves. However there are many other species of Daffodils and these days most of them can be brought from garden centres and plant shops.
Amongst the other varieties I also love the Miniature Narcissus. These can range in style from mini versions of the trumpet mentioned above to mini versions of the double narcissus. I love these especially in the borders at the front, as they are very petite and very pretty. Another thing I like about the mini daffodils is that although they look very delicate and sway easily in the breeze, they do seem to be particularly sturdy.
Daffodils are planted from bulbs in late autumn. You need to time it quite well as the soil must still be soft so the bulb can get its roots out but not so mild that they will begin to grow. Obviously this will vary slightly each year but I would suggest mid October as a good guide. For the best results in growing positions you need to remember that Daffodils require a lot of sunshine and are not really partial to shade, although they will grow, so open spaces and in full sun borders is ideal.
To plant the bulbs you need to dig a hole three times as deep as the bulb is wide and pop it inside. Tap down the soil gently and leave it be. You dont need to add any fertiliser or food at this point, as you really dont want to encourage early growing. Once it has grown and flowered in the late winter, early spring, you can give it a little nourishment but it is only essential once a year. They are not particularly fussy when it comes to soil types but they do like a well-drained spot to flourish.
To allow the best display from your Daffodils, it may be necessary to divide them every five years or so, and the best time to do this is at planting time again. Dig up the bulbs and separate out, planting in wider areas for best flowering results. Along the same lines once the flowers have died and the leaves begin to wilt, a lot of people will mow them or cut them off to avoid the unattractive mess that is created by dying foliage. Whilst some people have reported no problems after doing this, others have found that the following year the Daffodil grows blind, which means it has no flower. Plant experts recommend leaving the leaves to completly rot down back into the soil, replenishing any nourishment back into the bulb and soil. This can leave your garden looking a real mess as it takes quite a while for the whole process to happen and if you choose to hide the rotting foliage with another plant, choose one that doesnt mind being quite dry, as the daffodils rely on a fairly dry summer to replenish themselves ready for the next flowering season.
Another lovely resource of the Daffodil is for cut flowers and it really cheers a room up when I see a thick bunch of beautiful yellow daffs in a vase. This is particularly pretty to look at if you have a mixture of colours and styles and this may only be conventionally achieved by buying from a florist. However if you do have a garden full, I would be inclined to leave them there, as the beauty will last a lot longer.
Finally as a word of warning Daffodils have a sap which is toxic to other flowers so in the interests of flower preservation if you are cutting from the garden, allow the daffodil to stand alone in its own vase for 12 hours or so to dispel the poison before adding into a vase with different species of flowers. Additionally you should never re-cut the stems of the daffodils if they are housed with different types, as the sap would be able to leak out again. For humans and animals the Daffodil bulb is poisonous so make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after handling and make sure none are left lying around unplanted, especially if your dog is the equivalent of a rubbish bin like ours!
The nodding heads of the yellow, cream and orange flowers never fail to make me smile and signify spring is finally on the way.
I have just spent a couple of hours in the garden. The weather is bitterly cold but very sunny and I am feeling extremely uplifted. Gardening is very therapeutic, but I find it more so at this time of the year when the spring bulbs are everywhere and getting ready to flower. My favourite spring flower is the daffodil. I must have at least 400 in my garden and more growing in pots. I grow lots of varieties too. After winter they appear and this cheerful spring bloom signals that spring is on its way. Wonderful!
Daffodils are horticulturally divided into 12 groups based on the form of the flowers. They provide a wide variety of shapes and forms, from the tiny exquisite Cyclamineus hybrids with their swept back petals, to the wonderfully tall trumpet daffodils and the more showy and my favourite double variety. In addition to the characteristic bright yellow flowers, others include those with pale butter --yellow blooms or brilliant white petals and fiery orange cups. The 12 groups are: -
Rather than describe them all, I have chosen a few of my favourites, all of which I grow in my garden.
Perhaps the most commonly seen, it has solitary flowers, each has a trumpet as long as or longer than the petals. Included in this group are "trousseeau" which have milk white petals and straight, flanged soft lemon trumpets and "Kingscourt" which have rich gold trumpets with broad, rounded paler gold petals.
Most have solitary large fully or semi double flowers with cups and petals. Some have smaller flowers in clusters of 4 or more. These can flower as late as early summer. My favourite daffodil the "ducat" comes into this group. This produces rich golden flowers, is very sturdy and is ideal for cutting. "Rip Van Winkle" is another, not as commonly grown these shaggy, double flowers have densely arranged flat, tapering greenish - lemon petals with incurving tips.
Flowers are borne in clusters of either 12 or more small fragrant flowers per stem or 3 to 4 large ones. Cups are small and often straight sided with broad petals, which are mostly pointed. They flower late autumn to early spring. The "Pride of Cornwall" is my favourite in this range. Firstly biased by the name (I love Cornwall), it bears large, fragrant flowers, each with milk white petals and rich yellow cups. Again this group is ideal for cutting.
WHY I LIKE DAFFS
Daffodils make ideal spring bedding flowers. They are the most reliable of bulbs for naturalizing and they rarely need lifting in borders or grass.They hardly ever suffer from disease,although some varieties may be prone to bulb flies but this is rare. Dwarf Daffodils such as "tete a tete" are ideal for rock gardens. Daffodils will grow in any type of soil and will thrive in sun or shade. They are also cheap to buy and will provide a wonderful vase. Planting time is from September to December. Plant 12 to 15cm deep.
Bulbs can be bought for as little as 10 pence each for the most common varieties. The more exotic sell for around 50 pence. Currently bunches of daffs can be bought, two bunches for £1.00. Bunches usually contain 10 flowers. Although when cut they only last about a week, during that time, they will brighten up any room at very little cost.
With names like tahiti, cheerfulness and ambergate, together with their vibrant colours of yellow and orange or their creamy milk tones, it is no wonder that daffodils brighten our spring and that is why they have remained my firm favourite.