Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance …
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
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— “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth
It’s been a rainy winter with early spring winds blowing away any remnants of fall leaves.
Through it all, daffodils by the thousands emerge to remind you spring is here. (So does the annual Daffodil Festival in Pierce County, which kicks off Saturday, and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, through April 30.)
Daffodils are easy to grow, plus voles, squirrels and deer dislike them, which are super-good reasons to incorporate the fall-planted bulbs in your yard.
When bloom time is done, daffodil foliage yellows and browns, a look that is not attractive but is necessary. This four- to six-week process helps the plant manufacture food for next year’s flowers. Much of that food is transported to the bulb below ground. Removing, braiding, rubber banding or tying the foliage interrupts that important process because it limits the amount of green that is getting sunlight.
An easy disguise is to interplant hostas, coral bells, lilies and other perennials that leaf out in early spring.
When daffodils don’t bloom, there can be any number of reasons, according to the American Daffodil Society. Some common reasons include: Bulbs need to be fed slow-release 5-10-10 (too much nitrogen benefits foliage, not flower), bulbs compete with other root systems, bulbs lack good drainage, bulbs may have a virus, bulbs may have suffered bad growing conditions the previous season or bulbs need dividing — more details at www.daffodilusa.org.
Under the best of growing conditions, daffodils will multiply and outlast any of us, so expect the best and enjoy your daffodils indoors where you can experience their innermost beauty.
Bench warmer. A simple row of canning jars creates a uniform arrangement. A wooden bench set in your foyer, kitchen window or adjacent to a sofa is the perfect complement to the rural feel of this tableau.
Lemon lollipop. Bunch some daffodils and wrap them with strips of natural burlap or brightly colored twine to create a topiarylike shape that will stand in a wide windowsill where you can enjoy them while you cook.
Pitcher perfect. Daffodils look casually comfortable, and shabby chic, when displayed in pottery, glass and tin pitchers, crocks and measuring cups for centerpieces and place settings.
Tray chic. Place single or threesome daffodils in glass bud vases topping a silver tray. Add a few fine twigs to offset the formality of the arrangement.
Wood-n-nice. Glue bark to empty tin cans or purchase bark containers at a retail store. Fill the containers with daffodils, and place them on a tray of moss for an instant woodsy retreat.