View Full Version : The daffodil extravaganza . . .

Milo Christensen
09-20-2010, 08:42 PM
Coming to my perennial gardens next spring. Finally got something done I've wanted to do for years. Planted a bunch with a bulb planter, 8 inches deep. Lots of twisting pushing whilst on hands and knees. My back, knees, hands, wrists, and forearms are shot, but thankfully the Vitamin I (ibuprofen) is taking effect.

I purchased one of those fill this bag with all the daffy-laffy bulbs that will fit in the bag. I chose the biggest bulbs and the bag wasn't that big, but I now have 9 three bulb spots, a four bulb spot and the piece de resistance - a 6 bulb spot.

I now will have a nice mix of daffy-laffy and narcissus coming up in random spots all over several different perennial beds this next spring. I call them daffy laffys because they bring out at least a smile when I see them in the spring after one of our unspeakably dreary winters, the next approaching as I type.

The narcissus came from a friend's farm in northeast Tennessee where, apparently, they were planted by the original settlers and have naturalized over his entire wooded areas. They came up this spring slowly after being planted late the spring before, but I hope they'll be quicker and stronger this next spring.

I've also added, as part of the daffy laffy plantings, a new terrace subdividing the terrace behind the water feature. This terrace has two three bulb spots for daffy laffys, a couple royal ferns I missed when I transplanted a bunch of ferns out of their recovery area to the fence row last year, and several of my gorgeous, gigantic northern Michigan columbines (now thriving after I broke down and used imidacloprid as a systemic insecticide). I had to dig out all of the common daylilies that were planted there, but found a nice spot for them as well.

The new terrace was a good spot to put the last of the two year old compost, which had to be screened to get rid of the stuff like rocks that just doesn't break down. Hauled it in two five gallon buckets at a time from behind the fence, up the hill and across the edge of the main perennial garden terrace, which come to think of it, got some redesign as well. Sixty gallons of compost.

Covered the new terrace and the rest of the old terrace with cypress mulch, tore out the summer pot plantings (except for the Gaura, that went down in front of the mailbox) and put in the mums, how do mums get so many gorgeous flowers any way? And how can they afford to sell big, beautiful 8" pots for $4.99 anyway?

Paul Pless
09-21-2010, 06:31 AM
Sounds pretty cool.

I'd love to plant dozens and dozens of bulbs and other flowers, but were still in the clearing underbrush and making the ground around the house sorta near level stage

09-21-2010, 07:15 AM
SWMBO wants to have Daffodils en masse in the garden like there were at home in the UK. If you drive around the area she's from in March, they're everywhere - almost like weeds.


Paul Pless
09-21-2010, 07:24 AM
SWMBO wants to have Daffodils en masse in the garden like there were at home in the UK. That's what I'd like!!!

Plus some other bulbs as well of course. . .

So how does one propogate bulbs? There's gotta be a way to make them multiply fairly quickly.

09-21-2010, 07:33 AM
If the conditions are favorable, they "naturalize", but this takes a fair amount of time to happen. You can, of course, help the process along by periodically dividing them.

09-21-2010, 07:36 AM
The only downside of big bulb plantings is the equally big swath of garden devoted to browning leaves once the flowers are over. That hasn't discouraged me either, Milo - I just hide the daffs behind perennials which grow up later and will hide the foliage. I don't think I'll put in more daffs this year, as we planted about 100 last season and I want to see how well they've increased ... but I've got about 150 crocus bulbs sitting on the kitchen counter, to go into some new beds I'm digging this Fall.

Paul, my best advice to getting bulbs to propogate ... is to get varieties that are known to multiply pretty happily on their own in the right conditions. Daffs are among these, as are crocus, chinodoxa, snowdrops etc. If you deadhead the spent flowers so that the plant doesn't put the energy into making seeds, you're more likely to encourage the bulbs to multiply more quickly - I'll deadhead daffodils, but won't bother with the smaller flowers ... squills etc. seed well anyhow. We use a fair bit of bone meal as our primary bulb feed, and sprinkle blood meal overtop ... both for the nitrogen, and because it discourages the squirrels from digging stuff up.

And don't "tidy up" the foliage till after it's truly dead looking - the plant stores food for next year's show (and puts its energy into bulb mulitiplication) after the flowers are over. Cut the foliage too soon and they'll dwindle.

I've never had any success getting tulips to propogate ... instead I think of them almost as annuals; good for max 3 years, but more likely a decent show for only 2. But I'm not much for tulips anyhow - I really hate spent tulip foliage.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-21-2010, 09:25 AM
One serious and deadly dull point about mass plantings of naturalising daffodils.

Do please use wild varieties - a King Alfred looks splendid in a garden border but wholly inappropriate in a hedgerow!

09-21-2010, 09:31 AM
One serious and deadly dull point about mass plantings of naturalising daffodils.

Do please use wild varieties - a King Alfred looks splendid in a garden border but wholly inappropriate in a hedgerow!You've the benefit, perhaps, of readier access to wild varieties. While they can be found here in North America, I've never found them stocked anywhere local. Would always require working with a specialty supplier by mail order.

That's no great hardship - many gardeners have always bought quite a few plants that way - but it isn't easy for people first starting into the game, who may not think to look.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-21-2010, 09:33 AM
In Britain we even have an Organised Movement on this subject!


Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-21-2010, 09:40 AM
Nice point. It would be, to my eye, preferable to a "feral" one