Monday, March 5, 2018


Spring arrived here over a week ago. I'm not ready, but Mother Nature
doesn't care! The first set of daffodils (early mid season) are in full bloom.

I spent a lot of time the last 2 springs dividing daffodil bulbs after they finished blooming. I knew that afterward the bulbs would take a few years to increase back up to big blooming clumps, but I wanted to spread the bulbs from Gene's grandmother's garden all over the big perennial bed and around the house. (Her name was Eva and I have many no ID plants from her garden named after her now.) I can't buy more because I don't know what they are. They are strong bloomers, increase well, and are very reliable. They are those early spring yellow daffodils that are my absolute favorite kind.

A wild serviceberry in the background.

There's still a lot of room for more daffodils around the house, so I added around 300 daffodil bulbs over the last couple of weeks. I wait until the foliage from the daffodils in the ground comes up in January and February before adding more.

  • 50 'Carlton', a yellow large cup variety that was introduced in 1927. Brent and Becky's Bulbs writes in their catalog that it is "one of the best perennializers especially in the South" and has a "vanilla like fragrance".

  • 100 'Sweet Love', an ivory jonquil with butter yellow cups, "incredibly, sweetly fragrant" according to Brent and Becky, developed by B and B, "very vigorous with multiple bloomstalks with multiple flowers; mid-spring".

  • 50 'Avalanche' sweetly fragrant tazetta, snow white petals with a lemon yellow cup; many flowers (another name for it is 'Seventeen Sisters'), registered in 1955. Bloomslooms early-mid spring

  • 50 'Silver Chimes' a white Triandrus with tazetta ancestry, a strong grower and late bloomer. According to Scott Ogden, author of Garden Bulbs for the South, it's "one of the best daffodils for heavy clay soils, one of the tried-and-true Southern daffodils". Sweetly fragrant with white petals and a pale yellow cup.

  • 25 'Petrel', a white Triandrus that B and B describes has having "exceptional fragrance; wins lots of ribbons in shows", and a mid-late spring bloom time.

  • 5 'Bridal Crown', a double, described by B and B as white and saffron, with a heavenly fragrance, 3-6 flowers per stem, early-mid spring.

  • 5 'Erlicheer', a double, yellow and white, sweet fragrance, several flowers per stem, early-mid spring.

  • 5 'Ginter's Gem' a glowing yellow Triandrus developed by B and B, very floriferous, increases well.

  • It always amazes me how many daffodils I'm going to need. Those 300 bulbs were just enough to fill in next to the front sidewalk and the bed along the east side of the house. I ordered 'Avalanche', 'Silver Chimes' and 'Sweet Love' from Van Engelen, because the quality and prices are outstanding. The rest came from Bent and Becky's Bulbs . They have a great selection and have developed several daffodils themselves. I first read about them in Passalong Plants.

    I planted some hyacinth bulbs as well. Gene's grandmother grew some old blue Roman hyacinths, which unfortunately were lost when the voles in my garden ate them. This fall I'm going to order some from Old House Gardens. I went ahead and got 'Pink Festival' and Blue Festival' from Brent and Becky's, which they describe as the next best thing to the old Roman hyacinths. I put them in bottomless pots with gravel on top. If that doesn't keep the voles out (and it very well may not), I'll just put the Roman hyacinths in pots.

    Planting the bulbs went very quickly (made especially easy in the sandy soil near the house), so I think I will order twice as many bulbs over the next couple of years, and that might be enough to fill in the beds around the house. I want a mass of yellow daffodils just when things are just starting up in the spring. So I plan to order more 'Carlton', as well as 'Saint Keverne' and 'Delibes'. All are large cup daffodils and bloom early. B & B describe 'Saint Keverne' as a great perennial daffodil everwyhere, even in the South. It's a yellow self. They describe 'Delibes' as "a terrific perennializer and an old standby". It has bright yellow petals and a yellow orange cup with a vivid orange rim. For the wetter parts of the garden I plan to plant early jonquils. Jonquils are fine in soggy conditions. I read that in Garden Bulbs for the South by Scott Ogden. I'm annoyed that I have not been able to find a match for the beautiful delightfully fragrant jonquil that we found growing in a field at Howell Woods . I have tried Campernelles, but have found them to put out a lot more foliage than flowers, and I don't think the fragrance is as good as the Howell Woods jonquil. So I'd like to try 'Derringer', an early mid season lemon yellow jonquil with a golden orange cup.

    Once I have enough early mid season daffs for a good display I will likely still order some more, as there are so many I want to try to grow. Just in the jonquil class alone there are several I want to try, and there is still loads of room in the big perennial bed below the house for daffodils. Extra early daffs like ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ would be nice.

    Narcissus pseudonarcissus, also known as Lent lilies. The earliest daffodil I currently have.
    Very graceful and beautiful but not quite as long lasting or resilient to heat as the ones from
    Eva's garden.My double Lent lilies (also from Eva's garden) bloom later and are quite sturdy.

    Like a lot of gardeners I imagine I am obsessed with daffodils for a couple of months each spring. How about you (if you can grow daffodil where you live)?


    1. Wow, sweetbay! When you say you're obsessed with daffodils, you're not kidding! I can't think of a more delightful obsession to have, however. I planted just 25 new daffodils this past fall to supplement the few dozen I already had but, if they do as well as the originals, I'll definitely plant more. Freesias and other South African bulbs tend to be easier to grow here - each year I add more and each year I feel I don't have nearly enough.

    2. Oh, this is so dreamy. Thank you! My Daffodils are a couple of inches out of the soil, but it will still be a few more weeks before they bloom. I love them, too, and one of the best things about them is that the rabbits leave them alone (oh, and the fact that they're beautiful)! Lucky you to have such a fabulous collection!

    3. Daffodils are my favourits in the spring garden. Beautiful selection ! Thank you for the list :)

    4. While in my garden autumn slowly takes the reign, your garden is a sea of gold with Daffodils. How very beautiful.

    5. Your daffodil obsession is an inspiration. I too love those big old fashioned yellow blooms. Nothing like a big shot of yellow first thing in early spring. I have quite a few that need to be divided. I didn't know they could be divided in spring after blooming. It would make it easier to remember where they were and what type they are. Happy Daffy Spring!

    6. I adore daffodils, and I always look forward to seeing the cheerful faces of daffodils each spring. Yours are wonderful. I aim to divide some of my old clumps this year and spread them to more areas in the garden. Next weekend I am traveling with friends to Gibbs Gardens in northern Georgia. They brag about their 20 million daffodils, and I am hoping to see them!

    7. Hello. I also like daffodil.

      Lovely colors. I feel transparent.

      Great photographing.
      Praise is dedicated to your performance.

      I posted daffodil and other flowers on flickr.

      Greetings, from Japan, ruma❃

    8. Oh my gosh, you have carpets of them! It is like sunlight scattered everywhere--so cheerful when so much around them is still mostly dormant.

      Here, the Tazetta narcissus type does the best--too enthusiastic, actually. The big yellow classic daffodils do not perform well.

    9. Glorious! I bet they like your sandy soil. Have you tried Camassia in soil with more moisture?

      1. I have and really like them, but they disappeared one by one. I wonder if the voles got them. :/

    10. Do you suppose the ones you haven't identified are Sir Watkin?

    11. Your daffodils are a long way ahead of mine -- I usually see the first bloom in the middle of April. And how I look forward to that moment! You can never have too many, it seems. I've been planting 1000/year for the last 6 or 7 years, and I'm still adding more. Two of my favourites are Thalia and Cheerfulness. If you want to see some photos, check out this blog post from a few years ago:

      Plus, I love the idea of Eva's plants, named or not.

    12. Beautiful, beautiful! I have been trying to establish a similar look along the pine trees that border our lawn. Each year I plant another 100, but it certainly does take a lot to get the effect that you have already. I am hoping to create a "river of daffodils," but right now it's more like a trickling stream:) I have been ordering mostly mixed collections of daffodils because they're less expensive, so I never remember the names of them.

    13. 'Avalanche', 'Silver Chimes', and 'Petrel' are always on my wishlist after reading through the daffodil offerings. I've planted 'Thalia','Hawera', 'W.P. Milner', and 'Katie Heath', and inherited early 'Ice Follies' and late 'Yellow Cheerfulness', planted by my father.

      He also planted lots of tall, splashy split-cups and doubles; they've gone to the gardens of people who enjoy them. I'd encourage anyone integrating daffs into mixed borders to start with medium-height to small varieties, whose foliage is not such a presence while it ripens, and can easily be masked by expanding perennials.

    14. Dear Sweetbay,
      I absolutely love your daffodils! They look so pretty if naturalised in grass. I am pondering about naturalising some in my garden. What makes me hesitate a bit is the fact that I would need to wait longer till I can cut the lawn and it might not look so nice after the blooms have wilted. If I had a very big garden I would´t mind having some area in my garden where the lawn is not cut for some time, but as my garden is rather small I am not sure if I should do it.
      Have a nice week, enjoying your pretty daffodils!
      Best wishes,

    15. Happy to see so many daffodils. Just read the Daffodil's poem yesterday by Wordsworth.


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