I Know How to Put on a Show

Bulb of the Week: Daffodils
From the smallest to the tallest, Daffodils are an almost foolproof choice for your garden, landscape, or both! These tireless performers, some of which are delightfully fragrant, are practically synonymous with spring. They are equally at home in a garden bed that has been planned with precision, a container garden, or as part of a naturalized landscape.

It may surprise you to learn that Daffodils are native to the Iberian Peninsula, and developed in the late Oligocene to the early Miocene epochs. Wild forms now share the stage with hybrids that come in a range of colors and sizes.

The Narcissus genus, which includes Daffodils and Jonquils, was well-known by the ancients, who used the plants for medicinal purposes. Daffodils produce alkaloids, which make the plants and flowers poisonous and unpalatable to deer and other animals.

Many of us know Narcissus as the mythical Greek youth who fell in love with his own reflection — hence the term narcissistic. The genus was formally described by Linnaeus in 1753.

Miniature Daffodils, which grow six to eight inches high, include the sunny yellow Tete-a-Tete; Narcissus Triandrus Thalia, a fragrant white flower nicknamed “The Orchid Narcissus;” the aptly named February Gold; Jet Fire, a yellow flower with a striking orange cup; and Narcissus canaliculatus, a white blossom with a yellow cup. If you want to bring smaller plants into your garden, choose the Botanical Mixture, a collection of Miniature Daffodil bulbs.

Taller varieties include “Narcissus,” which features a peach-colored double flower; Pink Charm, a white flower with a pink cup; Blushing Lady, a peach variety with a deeper peach-colored cup; Double Fashion, a cream-colored double flower with a frilly orange cup; and Tahiti, a double yellow flower with an exotic orange and yellow center.

Bunch-flowering varieties include Narcissus Geranium, a white flower with an orange cup, and Yellow Cheerfulness, an heirloom which delights gardeners with its double yellow center and sweet fragrance.

Butterfly varieties of Daffodils feature a split corona/cup, which makes for an intriguing variety on the theme.