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September 15, 2010


Our daffodil mix "The Whole Shebang" is the best we've ever seen in 27 years of business. THEY ARE HUGE!!

The Whole Shebang

The whole idea of planting a bunch of mixed daffodils can be a little intimidating to the first time daffodil gardener. They may ask "How many do I need?" or "What makes this mix better?" or "How long will they last?" "Where & when is best place to plant them?" Here are some answers to these excellent questions:

How many do I need?

Daffodils are best planted in clumps with each bulb spaced 20 - 30cm (8-12") apart. I love daffodils and freely admit my bias but honestly, MORE IS ALWAYS BETTER. A planting of 25 bulbs will make 2 - 3 nice clumps that will multiply year after year. See "Where to plant" below for some great ideas.

What makes this mix better?

Bigger is better when it comes to daffodil bulbs. Each variety has a natural size range, and within this range a bigger bulb gives a bigger first showing next spring and readily establishes in your garden for years of bloom. Our bulbs are HUGE, Dutch grown, and from the very best growers (when it comes to growers, bigger isn't always better). Our mix is picked by hand to ensure quality. Poorer mixes of smaller bulbs are cheaper, but the price you pay gives you few colours and flowers.

How long will they last?

There is often that irresistible urge to visit old gardens we've left behind. I cycle by our old place from time to time, peeking through that terrible fence we built. I'm so very happy that most of what we'd planted is still there. This past spring I saw a spectacular display from our daffodil mix that I'd planted over 25 years ago! How's that for value?

Where & when is the best place to plant them?

PLANT NOW - This is where daffodils and many other spring flowering bulbs really pay off. They grow and flower in the spring, before most of the other plants in the garden, and get along just fine in your perennial border. Planting in full sun is best but daffodils will still do OK in bright, dappled shade. Most spring bulbs like a well-drained, loamy soil and hate wet feet in the winter.

Few gardeners know this, but one of the best places to grow them is IN YOUR LAWN. Roll the grass back, dig holes for the bulbs, cover the bulbs, replace the sod and water. They look best planted in drifts or large clumps against a dark background.

Photo courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb

The Artistry of the Daffodil

Yes, I am a daffodil nut. Yellow has always been a favoutite colour but there is more to my passion than yellow. I also love the variety in size, flower form and fragrance of daffodils and my Scottish side likes their economy. They may seem expensive compared to other spring-flowering bulbs but daffodils are perennials in bulb form. Plant daffodils in the right soil and give them the right light and you'll have them forever. I also like to cut them for bouquets - particularly the fragrant ones.

We should remember that the daffs we enjoy in the garden are the handiwork of gardeners. Some are amateurs, others (the truly obsessed) professional. There is also an artistry to growing these bulbs for sale. Like many things in gardening, some growers are better at it than others. We only buy from the best. The size of this year's bulbs is a case in point. This year they are bigger and better than we have seen them for a long time. Remember that daffodils are a crop just like potatoes or beans, so as with any produce it's wise to buy when the crop is good. Click here to visit our Daffodil (Narcissus) page.

I visited a number of our daffodil hybridizer/artists in Holland this spring. These guys make my obsession seem like an idle interest. Jap Leenan and his sons represent three generations in the business. We offer a number of their introductions, some of which are particular favourites of mine. I had the pleasure of visiting their display of current and future introductions. Needless to say I saw many I'd like to offer but was a little dismayed to learn that it can take 15 - 20 years to multiply a single bulb of a new variety to the quantity needed for introduction. Don't despair, like gardeners everywhere I'm patient.


(Div. 6 - Cyclamineus Hybrid Narcissus) Long, lemon-yellow, flared trumpets with snow white, reflexed perianths. A strong daffodil that's great in a large display or indoors in a bouquet. Ht. 30-40cm (12"-16").

SAGITA - exclusive 2010 introduction
(Div.1 - Large Cupped Narcissus) A huge 13cm (5") perianth of creamy-yellow is the backdrop for a large, flared, apricot-pink trumpet. A fabulous new fade-proof colour combination. Ht. 40-45cm (16-18").


I also visited the Winhout nursery to see fabulous new double daffodils in his field. He's one of the best growers of doubles and his pride in the amazing display is evident in this photo. These new doubles have large, upward-facing flowers on super sturdy stems that unlike some of the older doubles are far less likely to fall over.

FLOWER PARADE - exclusive 2010 introduction

(Div.4 - Double Narcissus) Large, striking flowers with cream-coloured parianths and a frothy combination of cream and orange petals in the centre. Ht. 40-45cm (16-18").

QUEEN'S DAY - exclusive 2010 introduction

(Div.4 - Double Narcissus) Upward-facing, golden yellow flowers with touches of golden-orange on very sturdy stalks. A fabulous new introduction named after the craziest holiday in Holland where they party day and night to celebrate their beloved Queen's birthday. Ht. 35-45cm (14-18").



(Div.7 - Jonquil Hybrids Narcissus) Abundant clusters of wonderfully-fragrant, white petaled flowers with small orange cups. A very long-lasting Narcissus that stood out in our trials this past spring. Great for cutting. Ht. 30-40cm. (12-16").


(Div.3 - Small Cup Narcissus) An unusual combination of orange cups and copper-coloured perianth with flowers held well above the foliage. This sensational new introduction is from the windy eastern coast of Ireland where its sturdy stem, long season of bloom and vigorous growth makes it an exceptional variety for naturalizing. Ht. 45-50cm. (18-19").

FRAGRANT ROSE - the most wonderfully fragrant daffodil!

(Div.2 - Large Cup Narcissus) Large 9cm (3.5") blooms with a unique "Rose" fragrance. I wouldn't say that the flowers are remarkable but their fruity-rose fragrance certainly is. A bouquet will fill a room with the most delicious fragrance. Ht. 40-45cm (16-18").




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