THINK SPRING - THINK DAFFODILS
No blooms are more eagerly awaited than the first ones in spring, usually daffodils and narcissus. Keep Tyler Beautiful has sponsored Project Daffodil this year to beautify our city. If you did not order those bulbs last May, daffodil and other bulbs will soon be available at local garden centers and nurseries.
Greg Grant, Cherokee County Extension Horticulturist and co-author of the book, "THE SOUTHERN HEIRLOOM GARDEN", will speak about bulbs at the Fall Gardening Seminar sponsored by the Smith County Master Gardeners on September 20 at the Tyler Rose Garden Grant recommends narcissus varieties such as "Carlton," "Unsurpassable," "Fortune" and "Ice Follies" that are readily available locally and will naturalize well here.
Grant says we should plant these bulb as soon as we buy them so they can be storing nutrients. These varieties require no chilling but they do need good soil and drainage in preferably full sun or deciduous shade. Never cut the foliage back on daffodils or other bulb plants; let it die completely back.
Pat Lewis, Smith County Master Gardener
Perennials that grow from bulbs, tubers or corms are generally easy to divide. Division is a great way to create more plants or to rejuvenate those with few blooms due to overcrowding. Bulbs can be divided after flowering when the leaves start to turn yellow. Dividing while the leaves are still attached makes it easier to find the bulbs and to avoid damaging them while digging.
To divide daffodils, dig all the way around the edge of a clump. Slide your shovel or hand tool under the clump, being careful not to wound the bulb. After the clump has been lifted out of the ground, hold the leaves and gently shake the dirt off. Gently snap or pull the bulbs apart. Throw away any that are damaged or diseased.
Replant your daffodils as soon as possible. Plant the bulbs individually, the same depth as before. Do not cut off the leaves as they are producing food for the winter and for next year's bloom; they will continue to turn yellow and fall off in a few weeks.
Geneva Thomas, Smith County Master Gardener
DAFFODILS FOR THE SOUTH
Many varieties of daffodils and jonquils can be grown in the South; however, many of those that we see in catalogs do better in northern climates. A good selection of heirloom bulbs can be obtained at the Master Gardener Fall Bulb Sale in September. Plant daffodils no deeper than 11/2 times their width. The gardening guides that say to plant them 5 or 6 inches deep are for the north, and they can rot when planted that deeply in our area.
Incorporate some compost or organic matter into your bed, put some bone meal into the hole, cover with a small amount of dirt, and plant the bulb. Top-dress bulbs with fertilizer in the spring. Do not cut foliage after they bloom as the foliage stores the food for the next season. The foliage may be cut six weeks after the bulb blooms.
When designing your beds, you must keep in mind the time of bloom. Daffodils bloom early, mid-season, and late. The following are a sample of daffodils which do well in our area. Those marked "E" are early, "M" are mid season, and "L" is late: Acaea L 16-20" tall, Beersheba E 14-16", Laurens Koster E 16-18", Butter and Eggs E 16-18", Campernelle E 10-14", Carlton E 18-20", Romanus E 14-16", Sir Watkin E 16-18", Mount Hood E 8-12", Cheerfulness L 14-16", Geranium L 15-17", Hoop Petticoats M 8-10", Pheasant's Eye L 12-14", Texas Star M 16-18", Thalia L 13-15", and Trevithian E 10-20". Daffodils and jonquils are some of my favorite spring flowers, and they just get better each year as they multiply in my garden.
Carol Runnels, Smith County Master Gardener
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