Narcissus. We call them Daffodils. Nothing
trumpets the glory of Spring like Daffodils. The familiar gold and yellow colors remind
us that true Spring is just around the corner. But one can also find orange, white, pink,
peach and salmon available. Besides flower color there are other attributes to pay attention
to when choosing your Narcissus. One of them is timing. You can have blooms from February
into May depending on the varieties that you choose. As well, there are some varieties
and some groupings that are fragrant. The Jonquilla, the true Jonquilla, the Tazetta
types and the Triandrus types all tend to be very fragrant. The flower stalks on Narcissus
can range from a foot to 18 inches and even a bit more. There are some dwarf varieties
that are much less, good for the rock garden. Another way that we manipulate the timing
of the bloom of Narcissus and other bulbs is using what we call a microclimate. Here’s
a good example against the wall of this greenhouse. It’s South facing. The solar heat gain against
the wall has warmed up the soil next to the foundation and these Narcissus – this is Martinette
– a very fragrant variety are blooming early. In a week or two the ones in front will be
blooming and we will have an extended bloom time. Narcissus make great cut flowers. They
last a long time in the vase, but don’t make the mistake of putting them in the vase with
other flowers. There’s an alkaloid in the vascular system of Narcissus that will actually
make other flowers wilt within a few hours of being exposed. Any good garden soil is
fine for Daffodils, but it has to be well drained. They hate to be sitting in water.
Notice the hillside planting here provides excellent drainage for these Daffodils. Daffodils
prefer to be planted in full sun, although light shade is also good. They really like
the shade under Oak trees because Oak trees tend to leaf out a bit later in the Spring,
allowing the strap like leaves of the Narcissus to mature completely. This allows for good
storage of nutrients to get them through the following Winter and a great Spring display
next year. I wonder what spendthrift chose to spill such bright gold under my windowsill.
Is it fairy gold? Does it glitter still? Blessed be, it’s but a Daffodil.