Daffodils – More Than Just Another Pretty Face

a-to-z-letters-d

 

 

 

 

Daffodils, some of the first flowers to appear in the spring, even before the trees leaf out, brighten up dark corners and otherwise still groggy gardens.   They remind me of the sunrise, the centers ranging from yellow to peach to orange with the bright white petals like the rays reaching out.  Even the pure yellow daffodils shine brightly like a the mid-day sun.  But there’s more to daffodils than their pretty face.  They can serve a purpose in your garden as well.

Daffodil

Daffodil

Daffodils are guards in the garden, defending it from both encroaching lawn and from four-legged predators.  When planted densely, daffodils will keep grass out of planting beds, making weeding a much lighter task.

Often times, many of us will plant a fruit tree in the middle of our lawn.  Unfortunately, lawn is not a fruit tree’s friend.  The lawn competes heavily with the trees for water and nutrients in the surface of the soil during the heat of the summer.  Daffodils, on the other hand, are relatively deeply planted bulbs.  They will begin to establish themselves when planted in the fall, put on growth and bloom in early spring.  Then, about the time the trees need water and nutrients, the daffodils begin to die back, reducing their need for water until fall when the tree begins to go dormant and process begins again.

In addition, daffodils help defend fruit trees against predators.  As a member of the onion family, they contain a toxin that deters many animals, including squirrels, deer, gophers and mice from gnawing on the tender bark when planted close to the trunk off fruit trees.  One word of caution, however, although daffodils are in the onion family, they are toxic to humans and should not be ingested!

Other benefits of daffodils are that they are a perennial bulb, therefore only needing to be planted once and will return year after year. They will also gradually reproduce, making them a great bulb for naturalizing under a tree or in a shade or woodland garden.

 

Naturalized Daffodils

Naturalized Daffodils

One last fun note about daffodils – their faces follow the sun throughout the day.  This is fun to observe both for kids and kids at heart.

Many of the daffodils relatives, in the onion family, will serve the same purpose in the garden.  Allium, the tall blue, white or purple puff-ball on a stick, which resemble fireworks in the sky, will add color and can be found in a variety of heights and sizes.

Allium

Allium

 

 

 

 

 

Chives and garlic chives again, provide the same defense against predators and will also attract beneficial insects to the garden, such as teeny-tiny parasitic wasps, plus they have the added bonus of being edible.  And we all know, I’m all about things being edible! 🙂

Chives

Chives

 

 

 

So there you have it. Daffodils (and alliums and chives and garlic chives) are much more than just another pretty face. 😉

Kate

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14 Comments to “Daffodils – More Than Just Another Pretty Face”

  1. I am so happy to have found your blog through the A to Z! This is just the sort of thing to inspire me for my yard this spring. I love how you can write to inform but also make it easy to understand. Thanks!

  2. I have always loved daffodils, but now I love them even more. Thank you for the interesting and fun post!

    Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

  3. awesome post! i garden and i had no idea daffodils were garden defenders
    didn’t know they were part of the onion family and kept animals at bay
    im curious and will read up more on them
    cheers

  4. Great post! I have lots of daffodils in my yard but didn’t know much of this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Better than dandelions! Darn weeds…

    • Although dandelion leaves (if not chemically treated) make for a tasty salad. If they’re going to be in our yards, we might as well make them useful, right? (Thanks for stopping, Jill!)

  6. I love daffodils, but didn’t know they had so many other benefits other than their beauty. Last fall I finally planted some in the yard, mostly around our nectarine tree. Now, if I could only figure out how to get them to grow from the electrical wire that the squirrels use to get into the tree…. Thanks for the info. I will definitely be sinking more of them into the ground come this fall!

  7. My D was daffodil, too! Mine was not educational though. I love allium and knew they are part of the onion family, but I didn’t realize that daffodils are, too! Funny thing about the bulbs coming back each year is that sometimes they come back in other yards because of squirrels! I ended up with mini daffodils one year even though I had never planted the bulbs! My allium has slowly decreased. I’m quite suspicious!

    Check out my A to Z! Jen Hemming and Hawing Again

    • Ahhh… those pesky squirrels. Yes, they might not eat them, but they do like to transplant for us, don’t they? I find it a little entertaining when they don’t do to much damage. I’ll have to check out your daffodil post (and all the others too). Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

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