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Vermont Garden Journal: Daffodils

AP/Toby Talbot

Friday, October 11, 2013 at 5:57 p.m. and Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 9:35 a.m. I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. "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; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze." Ahh... William Wordsworth's poem the "The Daffodils" is the exact imagine we want in our yards in spring. Waves of golden, white and bi-colored flowers dancing in the breeze naturalized on a bank, roadside, or meadow.

Daffodils are the most reliable spring flowering bulb to naturalize. Animals don't like them, they're more tolerant of clay soils than tulips, and they come back and slowly spread each year. While drifts of golden 'King Alfred' or white 'Mount Hood' daffodils are an amazing site, I'm particular fond of the bi-colored beauties. 'Chromacolor' has pure white petals and a pink corolla or cup. 'Replete' has a double flower with a mix of pink and white colors. 'Vanilla Peach' has vanilla colored petals with a frilly peach colored corolla. Try to plant just a few types of varieties for the most dramatic effect.

When naturalizing daffodils, think groups and big bulbs. Plant in an area that gets full sun in spring, dig out sizable holes in the sod and plant 5 or 7 bulbs per hole, adding a handful of bulb fertilizer. Scatter these holes randomly throughout the area. Large bulbs will flower the next spring and for many years to come, but smaller bulbs found in some naturalizing mixes may take a few years to grow to flowering stage. Each spring add more fertilizer and in time you'll have the waves of daffodils William Wordsworth dreamed of.

And now for this week's tip, when planting bulbs, remember to pot up a few to force indoors this winter. Place them in clay or plastic pots filled with moistened potting soil to be chilled in a 32 to 50F basement for 16 weeks. Bring them into a warm room in late winter for a great flower show.

Next week on The Vermont Garden Journal I'll be talking about fall tree planting. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Naturalizing Daffodils
Naturalizing Flowering Bulbs

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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