Thursday, March 27, 2008
The first daffodil has bloomed so spring must surely be here. Crocuses and witchhazels are nice, but they can bloom long before spring, so for me, at least, daffodils are the sure sign. This one is tete-a-tete which is one of the miniatures and always one of the first in bloom. The whole plant isn't more than 8 or 9 inches tall, sometimes shorter. There was barely a sign that it would burst into bloom in the morning, but mid-afternoon, there it was. Certainly made my day. Daffodils are also one of our 'for sure' spring flowers. Deer don't nibble the foliage or blooms and rodents don't eat the bulbs. They multiply reliably and except for years like last year with freaky weather, bloom over a long period of time if you plant a good variety. Last year we had a late freeze just when they had started blooming. I think we had less than a week of bloom before a 3 day freeze. So sad to see them with their faces frozen to the ground. Those that hadn't started blooming yet were also done in by the freeze and spring seemed to be over before it started. I usually have bouquets of daffodils in every room of the house this time of year, but last year the house was so less cheery. If you haven't been to the gardens in the spring, you have to imagine that there are daffodils everywhere - through all of the peony beds and tree peonies, and among the daylilies on the hill and then along to the north over most of the rest of the hill in large rows and huge sweeps. We've even been adding them to the gardens among the ponds in the back and even around the peonies in the back. There are some in the parking lot and at Lake Amanda. We have good old American types and a few years ago added a couple hundred varieties from Northern Ireland and New Zealand. You might say I get excited about daffodils. Just don't try hybridizing with them unless you are extremely patient. From seed to bloom can take 7 years. I'll stick to daylilies and hostas where in a year of 2 you know the results of your work.