Biltmore counts on daffodils to deliver classic spring beauty, tucking different varieties into planting beds. “By choosing varieties that flower at different times, you can have daffodils in bloom for two months,” Andes says. “Start with ‘February Gold,’ then ‘Tete-a-Tete,’ and then ones like ‘Ice Follies.’ Daffodils are big and bright. You can cut them, stick them in a vase, and they last a long time.”
Outside the Conservatory, daffodils and tulips grow in happy harmony. The partnership is about more than beauty, as daffodils help protect tulip bulbs from feasting critters, including deer, voles and moles. Daffodils—both bulbs and plants—are generally ignored by animals. Andes suggests hiding fading bulb leaves by using plants like “fall-blooming Japanese anemones. They jump out of the ground in spring, and their new leaves easily hide the dying bulb foliage.”
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 simple splash of pattern takes this kitchen in an entirely joyful direction. The room's colorful shades become the visual jumping-off point for all kinds of bright accents including the turquoise backsplash, bowls, even bouquets of daffodils!
“Daffodils aren’t my favorite flower, but they are undeniably cheerful,” says Rachel Barker, Deputy Photo Editor for HGTV Magazine. She cut some from her yard and put them in a colorful Jonathan Adler vase. Instant joy!
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.’
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.
The secret behind Biltmore’s color-packed bulb display is planting technique. “A signature for us is planting multiple bulbs in the same hole,” Andes explains. “This transforms a typical 10-day tulip show into 21 full days of blooms. We use augers to dig planting holes, but you could also use a posthole digger to get the same result.” Gardeners drop two to three bulbs of the same variety, as many as six or seven bulbs total, into the planting hole, mixing early, mid- and late-spring bulbs. A typical bulb combination is a hyacinth (early), mid-spring daffodil and late-spring tulip.