Cheerful daffodils are classic spring flowers. For a natural look, toss them around your yard or landscape and plant them where they fall. Choose big, healthy bulbs and plant them 6" deep about 2 to 4 weeks before your ground freezes. They need sun to part sun and will come back year after year; they're hardy in USDA zones 3-8. 'Sunshine Boys,' pictured here, is a blend of early-blooming daffodils.
A garden of yellow tulips and daffodils blossom in this cottage style garden. Planting bulbs separately from other blooming shrubs allows the tulips and daffodils' beautiful blooms to be the focus and so they don't compete with other flowers.
Try your hand at planting swaths of daffodils that naturalize or spread on their own. Naturalizing bulbs multiply over time to create stunning displays. Companies sell daffodil varieties known for naturalizing, although different types do better in different regions. Some reliable naturalizers include ‘Fortune,’ ‘Ice Follies’ and ‘Dutch Master.’
The designers cleverly turned the tail end of the large formal living room into a cozy reading nook with the addition of a sofa and oval-shaped coffee table. The ceiling lifts higher above the space, allowing for larger windows and more natural light.
Narcissus refers to a genus that includes daffodils, paperwhites, jonquils and other bulbs—but most of us think of the big, trumpet-shaped flowers as daffodils and the small, white ones as narcissus. (When they’re grown around the holidays, narcissus are often called paperwhites.) 'Golden Harvest,' shown here, is a vigorous, early-flowering bulb that dates back almost 100 years. Like other bulbs in this genus, narcissus should be planted in autumn.
Inside a true bulb is a central shoot that contains layers of leaves and immature flowers. With bulbs planted in your garden, this central shoot forms after flowers fade. This is why it’s important to let leaves of bulbs like tulips and daffodils remain and stay green until they naturally die back. As long as leaves are green, they’re helping to store food that helps form the shoot for next year’s show. Most true bulbs have a protective papery skin (think onion, daffodil, tulip). An exception to this rule are the lilies, including Asiatic and Oriental types.
To find the most durable plants for your area’s soil and climate, scout out old graveyards to discover orange daylilies, hardy daffodils, “cemetery whites” (Iris albicans), and other heirlooms which have grown as memorials in utter neglect for centuries. Now that’s the kind of toughness plants need in my own garden!
Fall is the time to plant flowering bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, as well as perennials, trees and shrubs, according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals. The warm soil is great for root development, and plants have several months to establish themselves before the stress of the summer heat.
If you’re having trouble finding true-blue flowers for your garden, look for muscari, or grape hyacinths. Hardy in zones 4-8, these little bulbs, which are available in white and various shades of blue and purple, like full sun and soil that drains easily. They mix beautifully with other spring-blooming flowers, such as daffodils and tulips. Plant them in the fall, 2-3” deep, spacing them every 3-4”.