The Daffodil and Tulip are synonymous with spring throughout most of the world. They are among the most widely grown bulbs in the home garden as well as for the commercial cut flower trade.
Many millions of blooms are sold annually. The Daffodil has been a garden classic since ancient times. Greek legend says that Echo, the daughter of Earth and Air, fell in love with Narcissus.
But Narcissus rejected her advances. As punishment for his vanity, Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance, threw a spell over Narcissus and made him fall in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring.
Thinking the reflection to be that of a nymph, Narcissus pined away looking into the waters and was
transformed into the flower known today as the narcissus. The daffodil is the most famous variety of narcissus but there are at least 40 other species divided into 12 large divisions.
Included here are miniature hoop varieties like “Early Gold” and tiny, white “Nylon” to giant double red and yellow “Tahiti” and the Jonquils. Most of the yellow trumpet varieties are hybrids of N. pseudo-narcissus and the delicate wild species N. minor.
Daffodils are hardy, reliable bulbs of the lily family native throughout Europe. Plant them in any well-drained site with added humus. Avoid contact with fresh animal manures or soggy soils.
Lighter soils make better bulbs while heavier soils make better flowers. All bloom best with a little shelter preferring sun to light shade. The strongest varieties can be naturalized under deciduous trees and in lawns.
Plant the bulbs 1 1/2 to twice the depth of the bulb. Bulbs will multiply to make large clumps. These can be divided every 3 to 5 years once foliage dies down. Most varieties are excellent for forcing in containers. Now through early winter is the best time to plant them.
Tulips add a touch of elegance to the spring garden. They are bulbous herbs of the lily family with at least 100 species and thousands of named varieties. Yet most tulips admired today were bred from crosses between just two wild Persian species.
Some flower early, like Kaufmanniana and other short, brightly coloured, open star-like forms that are excellent in rock gardens. Parrot and Fringe Tulips have brightly coloured blooms with feathered edges. Lily flower forms have recurving petals. Triumph, Cottage, Mendel, Breeder and Darwin Hybrids come in every colour shade In the rainbow and are noted for their elegant shape and tall, graceful stems. They are excellent in formal or Informal beds, borders, or large drifts, as container plants and as cut flowers.
Plant the bulbs now (pointed side up) in a sunny spot with deep, rich soil that is neutral or limy. It must drain freely. Commercial bulb food or blood and bone can be added but avoid all animal manures which can cause bulb blight.
Wherever soils are light and sandy or the climate is very mild, plant the bulbs a little deeper than recommended on the packet. For just a bit of money and very little care these two spring flowers will provided your garden with a spring show that is inj1eed classic.
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