Gardening | Plant Daffodils for a Cheerful Springtime Display | The Examiner



The daffodil is a symbol of rebirth, new beginnings and eternal life and as gardeners plan their displays of spring bulbs that mark the end of winter and herald the arrival of a bright new season, it is the perfect choice. The daffodil dates back around 3000 years when it was used in religious ceremonies rather than for ornamental purposes. The early Egyptians wove daffodils into wreaths and placed them in the graves of the dead. Today, there are approximately 32,000 narcissus cultivars in a remarkable range of sizes, shapes and a color palette from pure white to soft pastels to intense reds, bi-colours, combinations, flowering times and heights, making it easy to see why daffodils have become one of the most widely cultivated spring flowering plants. Scottish nurseryman Peter Barr (1826-1909) is credited with popularizing daffodils in the late 19th and early 20th centuries after they fell out of favor with English gardeners. Inspired by English botanist John Parkinson, who in 1629 wrote “Paradisus in Sole Paradisus Terrestris,” a groundbreaking work that merged the formal study of plants with horticulture and medicine, Barr became an avid proponent of daffodils. making numerous trips to Spain and Portugal. looking for new varieties. In 1870 Barr wrote: “The Narcissus … now reasserts its position and claims its place in the general economy of border decoration and as a cut flower to furnish vases”. When he died in 1909, he had the finest collection of wild and cultivated narcissus in the world. Plant daffodil bulbs in a sunny, protected site in well-drained soil. Daffodils will not grow if planted in shade or in damp, soggy soil. Bury each bulb three times deeper than the bulb, with the pointed end up. Add a little lime if the soil is acidic. Potash or bone meal can be used as a dressing. Do not use fresh animal manure or strong fertilizers. The most iconic of all large yellow trumpet daffodils is Narcissus King Alfred, with its large, bold yellow cups held high on strong stems. Plant in a large group for a display that turns heads. Both double and butterfly daffodils are exquisite shapes, with the latter having cups that flare out to look like double flowers. Triandrus daffodils have petals that flare out and droop downward. They prefer wetter conditions and produce two or more pendulous flowers on a stem. Daffodils have dark green, tube-shaped leaves and at least three small, highly fragrant flowers on a stem. Narcissus Erlicheer is among the first bulbs to bloom in late winter with cream/white flowers. Ideal for naturalizing under deciduous trees. Poeticus is one of the last types of daffodils to bloom with glistening, fluted white perianth segments that contrast beautifully with the little red eye. Each has only one flower per stem. Tazetta daffodils are prized for their fragrant clusters of up to 20 short-cut flowers per stem. A medium sized plant that comes in white, yellow, pink and orange. Cyclamineus daffodils have smaller sized trumpets and petals that stick out from the cup. Appreciated for their early flowering and small size, they are perfect for naturalizing in large masses. Narcissus bulbicodium, the hoop-skirted daffodils, are among the smallest of all narcissus and, together with the miniature daffodils, add delightful charm to the garden whether planted in borders, rock gardens or containers. Daily: Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Burnie, 9am-4pm. Tea room open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. This 11 ha woodland garden, 8 km south of Burnie, off the Ridgley Highway, is home to over 24,000 related plants. Flower shows and garden club meetings have been canceled due to COVID-19.


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