Invest in Daffodils
Like many gardeners, I'm feeling a pinch in my pocketbook, and it has me thinking twice about how much I spend on my garden.
As summer draws to a close, it's tulips, hyacinths, alliums, lilies and other fall-planted bulbs that tempt me.
If you find yourself feeling the need to justify this years investment in bulbs, I have a suggestion: daffodils.
Daffodils deliver—by far—more flowers for a longer time with less care than any other bulbs you can plant. Theyll thrive just about anywhere, and they come back year after year in ever greater numbers. Over time, even a small planting of 20 bulbs will gradually become a swath of color with a hundred or more blooms.
The worlds flower breeders spend their lives developing new ways to tempt gardeners like us with ever more beautiful blooms. Daffodils breeders have been particularly successful in introducing new varieties in a range of heights, colors, flower forms and bloom times. No matter how many daffodils you already have (and I have a few!) theres always a new variety to add to your collection.
Another great thing about daffodils is that you dont need to squeeze them into your flower beds. In fact, daffodils are best planted just about anywhere other than in a flower bed. Many years ago, I put some daffodil bulbs into my perennial borders and Ive been digging them out ever since. They do provide a great hit of color in early spring, but the ever-multiplying bulbs and their messy spent foliage steal space from other perennials in the garden.
If youre not going to plant daffodils in your flower beds, where should you plant them? In my opinion, daffodils are at their best when theyre naturalized in the landscape. This means planting the bulbs in clumps or drifts that appear to be somewhat randomly placed—as if nature did the planting. To capture this natural look, its essential to plant the bulbs in groups of five or more. Scatter the plantings around so they look like theyre popping up beneath shade trees, in shrub borders, along a fence, in a woodland, near a pond or stream, in a meadow, next to the mailbox, or even right in the lawn.
Plant your daffodils bulbs in October or November, at least 6″ deep—8″ is better. Cluster small groups of bulbs, keeping them no more than about 6″ apart.
Naturalizing mixes are a great way to save money and they often contain an assortment of several varieties. It's fun to have different colors and styles, and it also helps extend the daffodil season. In my own landscape, the few hundred mixed daffodils that I planted 20 years ago have become many thousands.
Though I certainly dont need more daffodils, its always fun to give some of the newer varieties a try. I typically restrict myself to a handful of bulbs in two or three new varieties. This year I chose Border Beauty and White Marvel; a $25 spend that will yield hundreds of flowers throughout my retirement years.
Invest in a brighter future. Invest in daffodils!
P.S. If you want to put daffodils in your flower beds, the miniature varieties make good bedfellows. Two of my favorites are Minnow and Baby Boom.
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