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.