Daffodils, the harbringers of spring, are energizing and uplifting; often symbolizing many different things from rebirth and new beginnings to regard, respect, sunshine, and chivalry, The gift of only one daffodil symbolizes that you are the only love whereas the gift of many dafodils symbolizes joy, happiness, and celebration. Is there any wonder why these bright beauties often make people smile after a long, cold winter?
In 2017, we planted 400 bulbs of what we thought were 16" tall double daffodils that featured salmon, white, and yellow blooms with a nice fragrance. Since they were labeled appropirately and planted in November, I didn't give them another thought until they started blooming the next spring.
Imagine my surprise when the bulbs we had planted turned out to be minature yellow daffodils and drumstick allium! Nothing like I had ordered at all! I will admit that I was furious and contacted our supplier who nicely refunded the cost of the bulbs. It was the first time I had ever ordered anything and got something totally different. I felt a little discouraged since this was my first year as an official flower farmer. Unfortunately, this happens quite a bit in our industry, especially to smaller growers like us.
That brings us to planning and ordering for the 2021 growing season. I start ordering fall planted bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and the like in July. They are then shipped to me starting in September or October. Many of them need to be planted when the soil temperature is 55F or less and the nights are a cool 40-50F. Planting them at these temperatures ensures proper root development. I plant daffodils the same way that I do tulips, in a trench that is at least 6" deep and in partial to full sun. We try to have them in the ground ideally in October, but no later than mid-November. I like to plant them alongside tulips, which are like candy to deer, so that the daffodils ward off the animals that will make a meal of the tulips. Daffodils are deer and rodent resistant for a few reasons. All parts of a daffodil have an alkoloid called lycorine which is toxic. Eating them can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea in animals and humans alike. They also have what are called oxalates which are teeny tiny, needle-like crystals that will burn lips, mouth, throat if swallowed and cause skin to become irritated. Their fragrance also repels many garden pests.
We increased the number of tulips we are planting this year so we needed to also increase the number of daffodils and we are introducing hyacinths and muscari to our line up to help protect the tulips. We don't typically have deer pressure due to our dogs that patrol the farm, but you can never be too careful. Planting companion flowers such as the daffodils and hyacinths with the tulips will enable us to provide you with beautiful spring bouquets and arrangements that will brighten your days and remind you a new beginnings after a long, cold, bleak winter season.