Such are Daffidils
The sun is shinning!
“Such the sun, the moon
Trees old and young, spreading a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are Daffodils
With the green world they live in.”
Daffodils are so well known that there is a risk that they can be overlooked or taken for granted and that we forget the range of shapes, sizes, and colours available. Indeed, they are one of the most versatile and impactful of all our spring flowers. They are almost indestructible, will increase year on year, and should last a lifetime.
It can often seem quite daunting to choose just the right plant given the enormous range available. An important starting point is a location, this will determine the height of the bulbs that you want to choose from.
An often-overlooked consideration is the light aspect. Daffodils can be planted in full sun or semi shade but wherever they are planted the buds will always open to the side where there is warmth and light. Give this careful consideration, you do not want your daffodils turning their back on you.
I have found the best planting time to be from late September until the end of October. The cooler soil temperatures work against pests and diseases but there is still sufficient warmth to ensure maximum root development. The bulbs can be planted later but they must be stored properly and kept cool. A healthy bulb should be solid and relatively heavy for its size.
Daffodil bulbs vary greatly in their size due to the many varieties available. As a rule, they should be planted at a depth twice their size but if you are in any doubt plant deeper rather than shallower. Shallow planting is one of the main reasons for daffodils growing blind. Given their diversity they are suited to all soil types but will not tolerate being waterlogged. Plant in full sun or semi shade, dappled shade will keep the flowers fresh for as long as possible.
It is a good idea to start preparing the ground as soon as you have space available, giving it time to settle before planting. Add plenty of leaf mould and a top dressing of bonemeal after planting and again in February.
Daffodils are ideal for planting in grass, for many this is where they are at their best. Choose from the earlier flowering cyclamineus, triandrus and poeticus daffodils. This will allow you to cut your grass earlier, approximately six weeks after the bulbs have flowered. Plant overlapping drifts of similar varieties, marking out the drifts with sand before planting.
Don’t forget pots and containers. Daffodils are ideal for these, especially the smaller varieties. We see pots of bulbs being offered everywhere in the spring, often poor quality at expensive prices. It is very easy to plant your own in the autumn, either directly into your container or in to pots to sink into containers once growth starts to emerge.
Enjoy your garden,