2017's bulb of the year: The daf­fodil

2017's bulb of the year

Ontario Gardener Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Daf­fodils, a spring-bloom­ing, self-prop­a­gat­ing peren­nial, orig­i­nated in Europe, pre­dom­i­nantly Spain, Por­tu­gal, France and Aus­tria, where they are na­tive to mead­ows and woody forests. Some nat­u­ral­ized in Great Bri­tain where they were in­tro­duced be­tween 1400-1600 dur­ing the Ro­man oc­cu­pa­tion. From there, nar­cis­sus bulbs were in­tro­duced to North Amer­ica by pi­o­neer women who made the long ocean voy­age to Amer­ica to build a new fu­ture. Given lim­ited space for bring­ing per­sonal goods, they sewed dor­mant daf­fodil bulbs into the hems of their skirts to plant at their new homes to re­mind them of the gar­dens they left be­hind. The rem­nant an­ces­tors of those bulbs per­sist today in older gar­dens in the east­ern half of the US, mak­ing them a part of our her­itage for over 300 years!

The of­fi­cial botan­i­cal genus name for Daf­fodils is nar­cis­sus, which comes from the Greek word ‘Narkissos’ and its base word ‘Narke’, mean­ing sleep or numb­ness, at­trib­uted to the seda­tive ef­fect from the al­ka­loids in its plants. The plant fam­ily is Amaryl­l­i­daceae, mean­ing all mem­bers are poi­sonous, which is per­fect for gar­den­ers be­cause that makes them crit­ter proof. Daf­fodil is ac­tu­ally its com­mon name, not a sci­en­tific or Latin name.

Gar­den how-to’s

Un­like many spring flow­er­ing bulbs, daf­fodils are not eaten by mice, voles, squir­rels, rab­bits or deer be­cause they are poi­sonous and dis­taste­ful, which helps to keep pets and chil­dren from in­gest­ing them. Daf­fodils are great for pick­ing and ar­rang­ing in cut flower bou­quets, and they are also per­fect for con­tainer plant­ing and forc­ing.

The ideal daf­fodil plant­ing time de­pends on where you live. In zones 3-5, you should plant in Septem­berNovem­ber.

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