Saturday, February 9, 2008
rough draftIt's February, or maybe March. It feels like spring will NEVER get here. For those of us holed up in the frozen North, we're really starting to get itchy. Our garden plans are drawn in colored pencils, our winter sowed containers are waiting, our vegetable gardens are still in packages, waiting. . . . Although the days are getting a little longer, they're still not long enough.
Frustrated gardeners have long forced bulbs, or tricked bulbs into thinking it was spring after a period of cold dormancy, or winter. But now that we have refrigerated trucks and interstate shipping and all the other conveniences of modern society, we also have forced bulbs in supermarkets all over the country. In particular, we often find tete-a-tete narcissus, in bud, or blooming already, their cheery yellow flowers tempting us, quickening our heartbeats and lightening our steps. h
*Daffodils are the most cost effective, pest-free perennial plants available and make wonderful companions with other bulbs, perennials, annuals and flowering shrubs. They grow in almost all areas of the United States as long as there is a discernible winter. They are pest-free and when given ample sunlight, water and proper nutrition, will provide early spring color for many years. They are divided into 13 divisions according to their flower shape and heritage. Daffodils should be planted in full sun or at least _ day (6 hours) of sunlight after the leaves are on the trees and should be planted 3 _ the height of their bulb deep (3"-8"). MINIATURE DAFFODILS - not a separate division, but those cultivars that are about 6" tall or less. Most on our list are approved by the American Daffodil Society as being appropriate for the miniature list. (Note: climate, soil and site conditions will sometimes encourage some miniatures to grow over or under the normal 6 inches.
This little daffie is adorable! You see them in all the grocery stores' floral departments starting in February, when they put out pots of forced bulbs to make the gardeners restless for spring. When I lived in La Crosse, Wisconsin I took a chance and plopped my spent houseplant's bulbs in the ground to see what would happen. Sure enough, the following spring I had a sweet clump of mini daffodils! I hope that the current tenants of our old town house are enjoying them now! Last spring I planted some near a lilac bush here at our new home in Iowa, and as of today (March 26, 2007) there are lots of teeny tiny three inch tall stems with fat buds showing yellow at the seams. They'll be blooming tomorrow for sure!
Something I really love about these little guys (aside from how CUTE they are) is that the blooms last longer (for me anyway) than larger daffodils. Also, you often get multiple blooms on each stem--bonus! Next time you see a pot of these at Wally World for three bucks, let them liven up your kitchen table, then give them a good home in your garden!
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