Bulbs

Don’t combine daffodils with other cut flowers

Enjoy vases of daffodils (aka narcissus) while they’re in bloom, but don’t combine daffodils with other cut flowers … the calcium oxalate crystals in daffodil sap will clog the stems of other blooming vase-mates, causing them to wilt.

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A cheery spring combination – a vase of daffodils next to a vase of pussy willows

I try to share this warning annually during daffodil season in Connecticut. In my south-central zone 6 gardens, daffodils are in bloom now, at about the same time they bloomed in 2013 but a month later than they graced my gardens in 2012.

When picking daffodils it’s best to try to keep their sap off your bare skin. The same crystals that wilt their vase-mates can also irritate human skin leading to a contact dermatitis known as ‘daffodil itch ‘  that is common among people who pick or work with the cheery spring bloomers.

My picking method involves slicing or snapping daffodil stems near their base, and holding the flower stems blossom-down to keep the sap in the hollow stems. When picking just a handful, I carry them into the house this way and quickly immerse the stems in cool water.

Cut Flower Supplies ThumbWhen gathering a larger bunch of daffodil blossoms, take a small clean bucket or other non-breakable water-holding container to the garden. After cutting, quickly place each stem  into the water-filled bucket. Using this method, the flowers can rest in the water until I have time to arrange them in a vase.

Daffodils are lovely solo in a vase, but adding a few woody branches makes for a more interesting mix. The branches add structure and height, and don’t seem bothered by the daffodil sap.

Don’t fret about the vase or the arrangement. Daffodils deserve a natural look – all mixed together in a haphazard way.

But do take time to freshen their water daily. All flower arrangements last longer when provided with daily fresh water. Also, keep the arrangement out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source. Follow these steps and your daffodil arrangements will cheer you up for days and days.

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April brings a better view

What a difference a day makes. April brings a better view.

Yesterday, the last day of March, my crocus held their buds closed in response to the coating of snow/sleet.

Today they opened up to the sun.

 

Spring crocus in a Connecticut garden

Spring crocus in a Connecticut garden

If you have vole problems try these Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’. This is the third spring they have bloomed with no sign of vole damage. Voles have either consumed or moved all the non-tommasinianus crocus varieties I’ve planted.

 

Crocus in bloom in Connecticut April 1, 2014

Crocus in bloom in Connecticut April 1, 2014

Happy Spring!

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March 2014 – a problem child to its last day

We’ve come to expect the month of March to go out like a lamb, but March 2014 continues to be a  problem child right to its last day.

It dropped a surprize sleet/snow mix – perhaps as an early April Fools joke – over much of Connecticut today.

Such weather, after the calendar start of spring, brings moans and groans. I almost joined in with my own complaint, then I took a walk to see how the crocus held up to the unwelcome precipitation.

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The crocus didn’t seem to mind the snow.

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Whether with friends or alone, each stood in defiance of the frozen stuff that fell from the sky.

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It’s tough to moan and grown when such simple beauty in right under your nose … another lesson learned from the garden.

So long, March. You tried to hold spring back, but she’s budding out in spite of your chill.

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