Flower of the Month: Narcissi

Nymph meets boy, falls heads over heels and then boy blows her off and crushes her heart until she withers away into a mere echo.  A god of revenge had a plot in hand.  The god lures said Greek boy, Narcissus, to a pool of water where Narcissus catches a glimpse of his own reflection.  There, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection.  Unfortunately, you can’t hug your own reflection.  Driven by his obsession, he commits suicide by drowning himself in the pool of water.  In his place, flowers began to grow on the brooks of the rivers.  These flowers are narcissus.  We commonly know them as daffodils.

 A cheerful narcissus nestled in with sweet apple blossoms, reindeer moss and sprigs of savory marjoram. 

Now, there are a lot of variations of this Greek story but they pretty much end the same.  In death then some pretty flowers.  Narcissi hold many different meanings but the one I like is “new beginnings.”  Though, the New Year in our culture is the representation of new beginnings, I’ve always felt spring was.  The birds coming back with their sweet morning chirps, the sun is warmer, days are stretching, after the winter storms everything seems rejuvenated and fresh.  I feel like a groggy bear emerging from hibernation, ready to conquer quests and take in the sunshine!  The air carries a sweet scent of apple blossoms and sweet peas that are simply delicious.

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Before blooming branches and towering walls of sweet peas, daffodils peek from the earth.  Patches of cheery yellows pepper the valley before much anything else is awake.  When I began my journey of flower farming I had a whole new world of learning about some amazing varities of flowers.   For example: daffodils.  I thought there was one type of daffodil, the all yellow trumpet looking one, maybe it would have some white if it was fancy.  Also, never knew that daffodils could have decadent scents.  Well, I went down the rabbit hole and found mouth-watering varieties of daffodils to grow.  Delnashuagh that looks like a creamy vanilla ice cream swirled with peach preserves.  Apricot whirl has ivory petals with a burst of apricot that can’t help but steal the show when the flower is fully open.  Petit four is the closest “trumpet” version of a narcissi we’re growing this year, except it has quite a twist.  White petals with an elongated trumpet that has sherbert colors spilling out like confetti.  Obdam looks like cream puffs with hints of glowing yellow.  Lastly, bridal crown, whish is a dainty version of Obdam.  Now that I'm seeing buds on these little guys, the wait is becoming too much!  I can't wait to touch and sniff these beauties and see them in person.  It'll be like a proper introduction, I feel like we've been online dating.

 You can really pack the narcissi in small places, lots of spring beauty coming soon!

You most likely are growing some kind of narcissi in your landscape.  You would be silly not to! They are most likely already blooming or are very near!  The varieties we planted are varieties that bloom a little later and they were newly planted last October.  This will push our bloom time back a little plus this on-and-off winter isn't helping!

Narcissi are incredibly cold tolerant, they actually need a certain amount of cool time to push out proper stems and blooms.  During our spouts of winter, while I was babying my ranunculus, the daffodils were just like “BRING IT- RAAAWR!”  I like plants I don’t have to baby.  I have actual children who need coddling, so having independent flowers is a definite plus.

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Deer and Peter Rabbits don’t like daffodils!  Tulips can be quite a tasty snack for our furry little pest friends but daffodils are bitter and toxic.  Yup, they are toxic.  They containing the chemical lycorine which causes gastric inflammation when consumed.  The highest concentration is in the actual bulb but it is also in the foliage, flower and sap.  A starving Thumper may take a quick nibble out of desperation but most likely won’t take a second one!  With that said, be careful for curious pets.  For the most part, they shouldn’t take interest but you never know!  

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If you decide to harvest some of these beauties to enjoy indoors be sure to wear gloves and do not touch your eyes.  The sap can cause irritation. Whew, pretty flowers are tricksters!  The ideal stage of harvest is when it has a bent neck (at the flower head and stem) and the bud is swollen with color.  Because of the toxicity of narcissi sap, be sure to keep them in their own water for a minimum two hours before incorporating with other flowers.  The sap is zap the life out of your other flowers!

 Note the bent neck of the flower and the swollen bud.

Note the bent neck of the flower and the swollen bud.

Daffodils will grow new baby bulbs.  Every few years it’s a good idea to divide your daffodils once they go into dormancy.  If your daffodils aren’t blooming like they once were, that’s a pretty good indication they need to be divided.

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I encourage you to discover some fun and unique varieties of narcissi.  Just remember, spring bulbs need to be fall planted.  Not into planting?  Be sure to check out our SPRINGing for Flowers Bouquet Subscription to have four scrumptious bouquets filled with spring blooms delivered to you or gift to a loved one.  

 There are so many old fashioned spring favorites with a unique twist growing in the garden!  Don't miss out on these blooms, be sure to sign up for our  bouquet subscription .

There are so many old fashioned spring favorites with a unique twist growing in the garden!  Don't miss out on these blooms, be sure to sign up for our bouquet subscription.

 

Hope you enjoyed this month’s dose of floral bliss!

Jessica

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I can't wait to be handing you blooms soon!