Daffodils, the flower of spring
The star of the spring garden show is always the daffodil. One of the most dependable of the spring flowers the daffodil will bloom, multiply and thrive often with the complete neglect of the gardener. Even though the house down the road has been abandoned for many years, the hundreds of daffodils planted by the devoted gardener now long gone have become thousands. Every spring the long neglected perennial beds bloom with abandon. It is a sight to behold.
Daffodils are available in many colors such as all yellow, yellow cup and cream saucer, cream cup and yellow saucer. I have even seen catalogues offering pink daffodils. There are large daffodils and small daffodils, short daffodils and tall daffodils coming in every size and shape. The avid daffodil gardener will search out every cultivar for a garden with variety.
Daffodils are poisonous and thankfully the deer will not touch them. Garden beds of tulips will be eaten to the ground in one night while the daffodil will great the morning tall and proud. By collecting different daffodils with early, mid and late blooming times it is possible to extend the bloom by many weeks.
If you neglected to plant daffodils last fall the garden centers are stocked with pots of daffodils just starting to show foliage. These ready to go pots can be placed on top of the ground, sunk into the soil or placed in a decorative container. If time is of the essence pots of daffodils already in bloom can be purchased to welcome guests for Easter dinner or any spring gathering.
After the bulbs that are purchased in pots from the garden center have bloomed, allow the foliage to age naturally and then plant the bulbs in the garden. They will adjust to the spring and summer schedule and bloom again next spring. After the daffodil blooms cut the flower so the plant does not have to waste energy developing unnecessary seed pods. Do not disturb the foliage by cutting it back or tying it in small bundles. While the foliage is still green it will collect energy for the bulb for next spring. These maintenance directions are the same for those bulbs that bloom naturally in your garden.
The dying foliage of the daffodils is not attractive in the garden. When planting perennials tuck daffodil bulbs in with them. The foliage of the perennial gives the daffodil foliage a place to finish growing and storing energy for next spring.
The robins, the daffodils and the longer evenings announce the arrival of spring. Enjoy the flowers, pick a bouquet for the dining room table and celebrate spring 2020.
Rebecca Norton Ryan is a Penn State Extension Master Gardener and member of Warren Garden Club