Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 4
   August 2009
 
Daffodils
 



As the season goes on, the more fragrant varieties arrive. Many of these have smaller flowers, but more than one bloom per stem, such as the lovely white 'Thalia' with its reflexed petals and the fragrant 'Petrel'. Signaling the end of the show at my place is my absolute favorite, the scented 'Actaea', with its white petals and small yellow cup edged in red.

Narcissus 'Salome'.   Narcissus 'Actaea'.
(Narcissus) 'Salome'.   (Narcissus) 'Actaea'.

The only downside of daffodils is the foliage aftermath. Unlike the leaves of most spring bulbs, daffodil foliage lasts, and lasts—and lasts some more. And unlike the Narcissus of myth, it isn't pretty.

Gardeners know that it's essential to keep the foliage so that the daffodil can manufacture food from sunlight to bulk up for next year's flowers. To minimize the temptation to cut back the foliage, try hiding it instead. For example, plant daffodils—which benefit from early fall planting—next to later-blooming perennials such as peonies, tall sedums and Siberian irises. They will grow and hide the leaves. Or strategically place container plantings or tall annuals to divert attention.

But most of all, don't let this small drawback stop you from experimenting with this vast, easy and cheerful group of spring bulbs.

Lorri MacKay
Master Gardener

 
 
           
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