Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Plants I Know and Love No. 7: Daffodils, Jonquils, Narcissus

Good morning. This is Tina of the Gold Country Girls, and today I am going to celebrate spring by sharing one of my favorite flowers, the brilliant daffodil. It goes by many different names, and all of them smell sweet!
Around our house, it isn't officially spring until the Granddaughters have come to see the daffodils. Of course they usually go home with a handful. We put the stems in wet paper towels and then into a small baggy. Works well for travel. They will usually last almost a week in a vase, as long as you keep adding fresh water.
Nothing brightens up a room more than a bunch of daffy-down-dillies!
When my mother was still alive, she bought me a bag of large yellow trumpet daffodils for a present one Christmas. I planted them at the home we lived in then, around a few trees in the back yard. They bloomed for the first time as she was in the hospital, very ill. I still remember her faint smile as I sat next to her and told her of the glowing golden halo they formed around the oaks. Later, when we moved, I took most of those bulbs with me, and I have planted them here in Kelsey, around a large oak and also around a Chinese pistache. I look at them and think of my Mom, and if I ever move again they will come too.
These "geranium" daffodils are planted around one of our black oak trees. This poor little tree has seen better days. It is very close to the driveway and every year it seems to get a bit smaller and a bit sadder. I hate to see it declining, because we only have three black oaks, and they are my favorite oak, since I grew up with them. But every year, it begins the spring by leafing out just as these these daffodils bloom around its base. It always makes me hopeful it has one more good year left.
We have lived in Kelsey for eleven years now. For at least 8 of those years, every fall I would order a big bushel of "naturalizing" daffodil bulbs, and plant them around every tree and along every path and fence I could manage. Sometimes they are joined by amaryllis belladonna (naked ladies) foliage, such as you see in the middle of this photo. They make good companions.
These yellow trumpets herald spring as they march up our driveway. This photo is from 2002, they have multiplied quite a bit since then. But one of the best things about daffodils is they bloom and are lovely from the first year you plant them. No waiting around for flowers like with some plants. They are anxious to show off!
We have a lot of rock outcroppings and over the years the daffodil bulbs have been planted around those also. Sometimes they don't spread as well when the soil is rocky, but in our yard, I like to take my chances, and usually they do well. I think they like it here.
I have all different kinds of daffodils. I have planted so many I don't remember all the names they were given. This beauty has a very small cup in the center, ringed with red. You will see its ancestor in the antique postcard I show below.
Artists have been depicting daffodils for many years. If you believe this postcard, which was mailed in 1910, one hundred years ago, the daffodil means "truth" in flower language.
This postcard is also at least a hundred years old, and brings a bit of music with a hopeful theme along with its greeting.
Very lovely paintings on all of these postcards, and unfortunately not one artist's signature on any of them. This lovely birthday card shows the yellow trumpets that are the most common variety seen in the yards of the gold country. A smattering of gold along the roadways. Here and there as you drive, you will see where they have naturalized around what was once a farmhouse or barn. In Garden Valley, along Highway 193 going North to Georgetown, there are thousands blooming right now, remnants of a small community of homes which once stood beside the road.
A little bird enjoys his perch on some lovelies on this little packet of Just A Notes, published by Current in about the late 60s. The signature is hard to read, it is either "Hague" or S. Jaque. (I think!)
We have a deer fence (thanks to my husband!) around a little more than an acre of land in our yard which we use as an orchard, rose garden, and vegetable garden. I attempted to plant trumpets all along the fence one year. Here is a portion of them. They have been in the ground about 6 years now and are spreading well. Once in a while a squirrel will try to be helpful and will dig one up and replant it somewhere else. That is always a fun surprise.
Before we had the orchard fence, in one of my first plantings, I surrounded all of our oak tree trunks with bulbs. I love doing that! I always imagine what it will be like a hundred years from now, maybe no house left here, but daffodils still blooming, indicating that once a family loved this yard. We lived in Diamond Springs for 16 years, and during that time I completely surrounded our one acre with daffodils, circled every tree, and lined every path and driveway. Each spring it looked like a park, and we got lots of compliments. We are gone now, but our "legacy" in flowers lives on there.
These white lovelies bloom along the little drive where my husband parks his little tractor. I put these in about 5 years ago, and they have just exploded. Some bulbs naturalize better than others, these really did it fast! These are the same flowers I showed early in this post in a vase.
These tiny little blooms are a variety called "geranium". They have the most lovely scent. To me they shout "SPRING IS HERE!" I can't put my nose in them and inhale without being transported back to first grade in my head. They must have bloomed near my little schoolhouse. It is nice to be six again for a few moments.
This fall, buy a handful or a bushel full of daffodil bulbs and plant your own legacy. Spread a little gold around your world.


Lorlore said...

I have always loved daffodils!! Beautiful blooms Tina!!

Heidi Ann said...

I love them, too - seeing them in your yards has been such a pleasure over the years. Fabulous post, Tina!

yosemite faith said...

you really do a wonderful job tina. love this post a lot. i have a friend who lives near auburn ca that has a way with plants as you obviously do and both of you have great yards to prove it. thanks for sharing.

Susan from The T-Cozy said...

What a lovely post. You really are a daffodil expert!

The Vintage Rabbit said...

Love the Daffodils!! You have quite a bit more than I do! I need to get busy next year and plant waaay more!! You've just inspired me to "get on it" !!


Emily said...

My grandma used to do the same thing with the wet paper towels and a baggie when I would pick flowers out of her garden when I was little! How funny!

Anonymous said...

Daffodils are my absolute favorite flower I had always wished that they were lavender that would would be awesome. Thank-you for sharing your pics with me very enjoyable. Josh was the one who shared your site. I think he is a great guy, funny and smart. Have a beautiful summer. Debbie