It’s April and I’ve got daffodils on my mind, as I have every spring. From early April, through May, and even into early June, waves of daffodils bloom in succession throughout my yard. Their blooms cheer commuters passing our house and begin the season of home-grown bouquets. Each autumn, when the bulbs become available for planting, I add a few new offerings from my favorite catalogs. My collection now exceeds 70 varieties.
The American Daffodil Society reports over 13,000 named daffodil hybrids within its twelve recognized divisions. The Daffodil Photo Database they sponsor is a valuable and fascinating resource for anyone who wants to identify what’s blooming in the yard, learn the history of a particular variety, or delve into the world of daffodil breeding. Even a casual glance through the images on this site reveals the diversity of daffodils’ bloom color, size, and shape.
Double varieties resemble carnations or miniature peonies while some in the split-corona division look like hibiscus. Some have two or more flowers per stems, others have long trumpets in the center of each flower and others have flat, button-like centers instead. Blooms range from postage-stamp to softball size.
Daffodils aren’t just yellow anymore, either. You can choose from white, orange, red, and pink and all the shades and combinations in between. One of my favorites, Apricot Whirl, has fragrant, salmon-pink and white flowers that don’t even look like daffodils. Another favorite, Sabine Hay, has soft amber petals around a bright red-orange center.
If you want sweetly scented blooms, choose varieties in the jonquil or tazetta divisions. They usually have several fragrant flowers per stems. Award-winning Quail and Martinette are among the best in this group. A handful will perfume a room.
No matter where you live, daffodils have a place in your garden. They’ll grow in the ground almost anywhere in the country as long they have well-drained soil and a few hours of full sun. Most varieties need cold winter soil, but many thrive without it and grow well throughout the southern states.