Saturday, September 23, 2006

Species (Naturalizing) Daffodils

When it comes to things I wish I'd thought of first, the term Design on a Dime* often tops the list. I have a fabulous track record of killing every expensive plant I buy. (Though, the cheap ones do very well.) So, I prowl the discount stores for a screaming deal. Besides, there are much better ways to spend my money - on a plane ticket, for instance, to get the heck out of here once in awhile. Perky yellow Daffodils, gleaming in the late winter sun, boost my spirits while masking the dull, brown beginnings of things to come.

I'm particularly fond of Species Daffodils because they naturalize, or multiply, over time. One bulb becomes two, then four and eventually my one-time investment in bulbs delivers a garden overrun with yellow flowers in early Spring.

Bonus for mountain gardeners: Critters hate the taste of Daffodil bulbs. Moose and deer aren't thrilled about the flowers.

Daffodils don't like rich soil. Putting fertilizer in the planting hole will hurt, not help, the blooms. If you're a real fanatic, you can lighten heavy clay soils with a little sand worked into the bed. (I'm too lazy.)

Squish 'em together. They look better in clumps vs. rows. Think about planting them under deciduous trees. Daffies need sun but they generally bloom long before the trees leaf out. Water until the snow flies. Bulbs put down roots as soon as they're planted. In bud and bloom, they require lots of moisture but Mother Nature generally pitches in with those proverbial April showers.

Species Daffodils and some of the older varieties multiply quickly:
  • King Alfred Daffodils have stems reaching 20 inches, and flowers with a span of four inches or more.
  • Dutch Master is an improved King Alfred, bred to multiply quickly in the landscape. 14" solid yellow flowers.
  • Daffodil Carlton is prized for the speed and ease with which it grows and multiplies. 14-18" yellow flowers.
* 'Design on a Dime' was coined by the clever folks at Home and Garden TV.
** I was shocked to discover that Walmart is selling King Alfreds this year. I'm giving them a try, though I suspect it's a cheaper hybrid version.

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