Test your gar­den knowl­edge

A host of golden daf­fodils

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Local Dirt -

Test your knowl­edge by an­swer­ing true or false to the fol­low­ing ques­tions. 1. A daf­fodil is a kind of nar­cis­sus. 2. The plu­ral of nar­cis­sus is nar­cis­sus, not nar­cissi or nar­cis­suses. 3. Daf­fodils mul­ti­ply by seed. 4. Daf­fodils don’t like clay soil. 5. Daf­fodils come only in yel­low, white and vari­a­tions of the two. 6. Poeti­cus daf­fodils al­ways have white outer petals. 7. If your daf­fodils don’t bloom, give them plenty of ni­tro­gen.

8. If daf­fodil leaves emerge with fine yel­low streaks on them, dig them up and throw them away.

9. It is a Welsh tra­di­tion to bring daf­fodils into the house on St. David’s day.

10. Squir­rels don’t eat daf­fodil bulbs.

1. False—or at least, not ex­actly. The Amer­i­can Daf­fodil So­ci­ety con­tends that all daf­fodils are nar­cis­sus and all nar­cis­sus are daf­fodils. The group prefers “daf­fodil” for all but sci­en­tific use. 2. False. All three vari­a­tions are cor­rect in dif­fer­ent English-speak­ing re­gions.

3. True, they can. Daf­fodils will in­crease in your gar­den from year to year, mostly through bulb divi­sion. The flow­ers can set seed, though it is less com­mon be­cause they don’t al­ways get pol­li­nated. As well, when you do get seeds they take a good five years to pro­duce a bloom­ing plant.

4. True. Like most bulbs, daf­fodils need good drainage or they may rot in the ground. If you have heavy clay soil, don’t despair; when you plant daffs, dig deep and amend the soil with com­post or ma­nure and peat moss. It’s a good idea to lift the bulbs ev­ery cou­ple of years and loosen up the soil un­der and around them.

5. False. There are many par­tially and wholly pink va­ri­eties of daf­fodil, as well as sev­eral with green mark­ings. As well, some va­ri­eties have mark­ings verg­ing on red.

6. True. In fact, very white outer petals are a defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of the poeti­cus daf­fodils.

7. False. Ni­tro­gen is the fer­til­izer com­po­nent that aids strong fo­liage growth; high ni­tro­gen di­verts plant en­ergy away from bloom for­ma­tion.

8. True. Fine yel­low streaks that run the length of the leaves are there as the fo­liage emerges in­di­cate a virus called yel­low streak. Yel­low streak is in­cur­able and it is con­ta­gious to other daf­fodils. Get rid of the in­fected plant and bulb be­fore the dis­ease spreads. 9. False. The daf­fodil is a Welsh na­tional em­blem, and wear­ing a daf­fodil on St. David’s day is a Welsh tra­di­tion, but bring­ing daffs into the house is con­sid­ered an af­front to spring by strict Welsh tra­di­tion­al­ists. 10. True. Daf­fodil bulbs are poi­sonous to most crea­tures. Ju­ve­nile squir­rels and the like will dig them up some­times, though.

8-10 cor­rect: You can be right­fully nar­cis­sis­tic.

5-7 cor­rect: Quite deft with daffs.

Fewer than 5 cor­rect: Very daffy, not so dilly.

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