This afternoon the cold front which has been sweeping across the country reached this end of Pennsylvania, and temperatures have been dropping since. Once again I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt and right now I’m considering wearing it to bed. The chilly thing got old real quick when the snow flurries started flying again.
Magnolia ‘Ann’ is a common and relatively cheap variety, and this afternoon it’s amazingly special and perfect and I’d still grow it even if every yard had one. I’m hoping tonight’s freeze doesn’t end this.
I’m 95% sure all the wisteria buds were fried by our last freeze, so this current one isn’t even cold enough to make me nervous. I was eyeing the tomato seedlings which sprouted on their own, and was thinking about using them for a big tomato sauce planting this summer but I guess tonight will decide how that ends up. A different gardener would have their seedings already growing indoors and nearly ready to plant out but this gardener is a little more go with the flow. He’s even too lazy to dig up a couple trowel-fulls to shelter in the garage, and in fact he thought a better use of time would be to browse daffodil offerings online and place orders. Hmmmm.
A few of the daffodils thinned and re-planted last summer, narcissus ‘Beersheba’ on the right and ‘not-Indian Maid’ on the left. How annoying that after years of growing, one online check and I find ‘Indian Maid’ is a supposed to be a multi-flowering jonquilla, and not a single bloom large cup….
I was sort of aggressive last year with bed building and daffodil thinning. I don’t regret it, but I do miss them all slouching around the back of the vegetable plot and moving on from the earlies to the lates, even if they did make me feel guilty for their neglected growing conditions. One plus to less tomatoes is that it opens a whole raised bed to fill with new daffodil varieties. So far I know there will be at least eight and of course planting season is still six months away so anything could happen.
Narcissus ‘Stella’ is a newer one for me, and I’m shocked by how much I love the old fashioned pre-1869 look of wavy petals and nodding blooms.
Even with a three year moratorium on new daff and tulip purchases, they trickle in anyway. Gifts, surprises, impulse buys, they slip across the border and I complain about where to put them, not having room, and whining about not giving the ones here already the care they deserve, but within a few years they settle in and make the garden a richer place. Sure there’s a point in caring for what I have, but honestly it’s been years, and if I was really serious about taking care of what I have…
Narcissus ‘High Society’ in the front beds. A well respected variety which just never thrilled me, and as ‘the cull’ continues I’ll need to re-home a bunch of these.
Part of my problem is (1)I like smaller clumps, and (2) I’m sloppy and always dropping a bulb or two in some spot where it takes off and forms yet another clump.
Don’t know how ‘Jetfire’ and ‘maybe Bravoure’ ended up here, but both are doing well in a spot I thought was too shady for nice daffodils. Actually the colors are stronger and fade less out of the sun, so maybe more of the orange and red cups here is a good plan?
Years ago I made the “mistake” of dumping a couple hundred moldy and rotten tulips on the compost pile, only to find them coming up all over the yard in every spot where a little compost was meant to help. Last year I was determined to not let a single daffodil repeat that fiasco. Extras and the unwanted were dug right after and during bloom, and after sitting out in the sun and rain in five gallon buckets I eventually dumped the stinky mess into black plastic bags which sat out in the 90F sun for another few weeks. Finally I dragged the bags behind the compost pile where various wild animals proceeded to rip through the plastic and root through the mess looking for all the tasty worms and maggots which were feeding on all the decay. Half rotted bulbs were scattered all over, and obviously these tortured and neglected bulbs thrown around and never planted grew just fine and even flowered this spring. Also somewhat obviously, many of the cared-for bulbs which were dried and stored and sorted somewhat properly, ended up molding or rotting. Sometimes I wonder why I bother.
Growing right where the skunk or raccoon left them, like an idiot I’m looking at these and thinking they’re so nice I should really plant them out and re-think tossing them. Every day I have to fight the urge to sabotage my grand ‘thinning the herd’ daffodil project…
Must. Stay. Strong.
‘Accent’ was divided a few years ago and is looking good.
I am liking how the divided bulbs are looking, and really need to keep going. Rather than review splayed and floppy clumps of crowded bulbs flattened by a windy day I’m enjoying sturdier plantings where the individual blooms can be appreciated more.
I’m serious though, I have to keep strong. Even bulbs divided just yesterday were actually last divided five or six years ago and it’s time to give them a little attention again. I feel bad being ruthless with such giving plants, but…
More clumps in need of thinning.
So that’s a pretty elaborate story to cover my latest daffodil purchase, and to be honest I’m pretty sure no one but myself would notice that there are any fewer flowers in the yard compared to last year. What they will notice though, and I’m sure share a few comments on is when they see me wandering around the yard in October with a concerned and confused look on my face and a couple bags of “even more” bulbs in my hands. I could get defensive, but I’ll just say you don’t even know my struggle. Tulips are still on a no-buy list and you can’t have too many tulips, even if they sprout up out of your compost.
‘Flaming Purissima’, a genetically streaked tulip, as opposed to the virus-streaked tulips of the past.
I’m possibly more excited about tulip season than I am about daffodils. A few antique ‘broken’ tulips slipped in while no one was looking and I’m anxious to see them bloom.
The virus which causes the streaked flowers of ‘broken’ tulips is also showing in the leaves. I didn’t think growing a virused tulip would bother me but it’s all I see when I do the rounds.
Tulip season will be awesome. I know this weather is just a blip in the spring arsenal but I do feel for the people suffering through serious snow and magnolia frying temperatures, and I hope they sail through it somewhat unscathed. Regardless tomorrow we start climbing back up into civilized temperatures and I’m sure we’ll be complaining about heat soon enough.
All the best!