The daffodil is a springtime favourite amongst many gardeners in Melbourne. This hardy perennial bulb is easy to grow and can be a stunning feature in your garden design. Originating in northern Europe and widely cultivated in gardens both in North America and northern Europe the attractive orange, pink, white (Thalia) or especially yellow trumpet flowers are available in a number of varieties and cultivars. Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus and can grow to more than 520mm high, but there are dwarf varieties like tete a tete available. A daffodil bulb will generally grow around six leaves each of which will usually have a single flower. The trumpet shaped corona contains the stamens and is surrounded by a corolla consisting of six tepals.
The history of Daffodil gardening.
The daffodil now has thousands of cultivars with distinct individual characteristics. Much of the diversity we owe to the famous garden nurseryman Peter Barr from Govan in Scotland. Barr traveled to Spain and Portugal in the late 1880s going from town to town by horse, and then though the Pyrenees on a donkey, to collect bulbs to bring back to the United Kingdom. By then Barr was in his seventies, but that did not stop him travelling and sleeping out with a blanket as he continued his search for exotic flowers. With the help of his travels, Govan was able to create a daffodil bulb collection of over 400 varieties.
Daffodil varieties for your garden design.
There is a great deal of choice when it comes to selecting daffodil varieties. Some varieties of daffodil to look for include the Carlton, which grows enormous flowers up to 120mm across and has a very deep cup. This daffodil will also grow to nearly ½ metre tall. Easy to grow it will spread by itself in colder climates. Jack the lad has double peony like flowers that are yellow and orange. When mature, it can produce two or 3 flowers on one stem. The blue-green stems creates a complimentary colour scheme with the orange yellow flowers. This makes it a great choice for growing on large clumps, entire garden beds or mass plantings.
Bulbs are generally grown up to 5 years old before being available for sale. If your daffodil stops flowering (becomes blind), dig them up in Autumn, then separate and replant. The daffodil needs lots of water, but should not be waterlogged. Consider putting a layer of vermiculite near the bulb. Plant twice the depth of the bulb for best results.
Maintenance, Care and Planting
Daffodils can be planted in Autumn and will grow in most climates except tropical. They require a period of chilling in order to flower. You can plant your daffodil in part shade to full sun in well drained and well fertilised soil. The daffodil can be planted in pots, lawns, or garden beds. One mistake, made by many gardeners, is to cut the stems back after flowering. If you allow the stems to die back naturally, more nutrients will go into the bulbs for next year’s growth.
Garden Design Ideas
Plant as mass plantings, in terracotta pots or in clumps with violas and pansies as companion plants.
For help with the design and development or your landscaping ideas, contact one of our experienced Landscape Gardeners.
We can help with small garden design all the way up to Commercial Landscape design.
Our specialities include fast growing screening plants, plant health and horticulture, garden lighting and outdoor pool landscaping ideas.
Daffodils and symbolism
As one of the first plants to flower in springtime, the daffodil has come to represent hope, rebirth, and new beginnings. Every year the cancer council has a daffodil day to raise money for cancer research.
“The daffodil is the international symbol of hope and with every daffodil sold, Cancer Council can invest in life-saving research to give Australians the best chance of survival.”