Daffy About Daffodils
Of all the flowers that grace our planet, there are none which excite more admiration, year after year, than daffodils. I think we love them simply because year after year, no other flowering bulb requires less attention — a fact which is surprising to the uninitiated. My experience with these special flowers is by no means exceptional. Anyone can grow daffodils.
“I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils.”
~ William Wordsworth
Why is it, then, that there are so many gardens where not one daffodil can be given a chance to add its note of joy to the spring picture — to say nothing of the lack of groups of them gladly spilling their gold across landscapes?
It’s a question that I can’t answer, although I’ve often heard a number of elderly women discussing it over the years. It was an octogenarian woman walking by my house who pointed out my daffodils (that are now blooming) are ones that she would bet, I’ve never had to spray or dust them to control any insect pest or disease — and she is right!
She demanded to know, “Of what other first-class flower could such a statement be made about?”
She didn’t have to point out to me that there are certainly few flowers less particular as to soil as daffodils. They will thrive in any type of soil, from quite light sandy soils along the Eastern seaboard to heavier ones, even approaching clay.
In regard to drainage, too, daffodils are much less particular than most other bulbs — or perennials.
They do like dry soil during midsummer, for the short period while the bulbs are root-dormant. However, aside from this, they grow lustily in soils too moist for many other plants.
And when it comes to climate — the story is the same. From Canada to the deep south, from Alaska to southern California, and throughout most of the vast territory in between these area — daffodils grow readily from sea-level to the high altitudes.