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Daffodil, The Flower Symbolizing Friendship

“And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.”
[Extract from the poem “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth.]

The season of Autumn 2017, here in our Northern Hemisphere, truly began just 9 days ago, on Friday, 22nd September at 9.54pm, and will come to an end on Thursday, 21st December 2017, as the dark winter days once again emerge.

But fear not; remember the words of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley “O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”; so, let’s forget about winter and prepare for spring.

Later, towards the end of this month, will be the time to plant spring flowering bulbs, like the Crocus, Snowdrops, Bluebells and Tulips; but right now, is the best time to plant those Daffodils with their wonderful characteristic six petal-like sepals, surmounted by their trumpet-shaped corona; the flower that symbolizes ‘Friendship’.

Among the earliest blooms to appear in our Irish spring; Daffodils have been around for a long, long time, getting mentioned as far back as two hundred years B.C.. Indeed, it was a group of Englishmen in the early 17th century who plucked the Daffodil out of the windflower category; positioned it firmly, because of its charm, for inclusion into our domestic flower garden and rockery.  Originating in Spain and Portugal, the Daffodil bulb, thankfully, was brought to the British Isles by the Romans, who foolishly believed that the sap from Daffodils had certain healing powers; alas the sap contains crystals that in some cases can irritate the skin.

When sowing Daffodils note that unlike some other bulbs (e.g. Tulips, Garlic), they do not require to be refrigerated. Each should have at least 2 to 3 inches of soil cover (deeper in sandy soil) and be planted a minimum of 4–5 inches apart over the next week, before really hard ground frost materialises.

After a Daffodil has finishes blooming, it still requires its foliage to gather and store energy for the following year’s bloom, so do watch the video shown above and remember if you want beautiful blooms next year, do not cut them back until the green of their foliage has fully disappeared, (usually late May or June). You can remove the spent flower head, but do remove the leaves.

You will observe from year to year how densely packed your Daffodils have become, so it is recommended that in June about every 5 years, that you grant the bulbs a little more growing space. Once finished blooming and when their leaves have turned brown, do dig them up and divide them by carefully plying them apart from one another, keeping their remaining leaves attached. They can then be replanted, as stated earlier with 2 to 3 inches of soil cover, 4–5 inches apart, or washed and dried by hanging in, if needs must,  ladies panty hose, or an onion sack (if you can locate same from your local greengrocer), in a cool, airy location, until they are ready to be replanted. Remember, Mulch can be tremendously beneficial when growing Daffodils, so do not dump all your tea leaves, coffee grinds, tree leaves, grass clippings, sawdust etc in your brown bin for removal by your recycling company.

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