Everywhere I look there are signs that the seasons are changing. The once abundant fields and overgrown roadsides are now tattered and tinged with golden and copper tones. And even though we’ve only just started shooting the fall chapter of the Floret book, it’s clear that fall is in full swing all around. The days are getting shorter, yet my to-do list continues to grow longer. One of the biggest items on that to-do list is planting all of the spring flowering bulbs that will be arriving in the next couple of weeks.
I get asked all the time what varieties I’m planting and what some of my favorite flowers are, so today I’m launching a little three-part blog series dedicated to some of my all-time favorite fall-planted, spring flowering bulbs. In this installment, I’m sharing details on my favorite daffodils/narcissus varieties. Tomorrow I’ll dig into the best of the best tulips that I’ve found for cutting. Finally, on Saturday I’ll round out the series with a post about alliums and a few other fall planted favorites. Be sure to stop back to get all the beautiful details.
After many months of gray winter days, seeing the cheery creamy white and yellow blooms of narcissus are always a welcome sign of spring. When the word daffodil is spoken out loud, most designers cringe, but trust me, there is a world of beauty beyond the bright yellow trumpet bells that clog the aisle of big box store garden centers.
If you look beyond the common cultivars like King Alfred, you’ll see that there are many incredible shapes, forms, scents and sizes which are fantastic additions to seasonal floral designs. Last fall I went a little wild ordering different varieties in preparation for writing and shooting my book. It was the perfect excuse to indulge. When spring finally rolled around, all of the extra work was worth it and I was rewarded with armloads of beautiful and unusual blooms that were so stunning, they nearly left me breathless.
After growing nearly two dozen different cultivars, a handful of gems have risen to the top. Get your pens ready because you’re going to want to add some of these to your cutting gardens too. Here are a few of my faves:
‘Bridal Crown’: Each stalk of those intoxicatingly fragrant narcissus produces multiple mini double blooms. The frilly flowers are elegant enough to tuck into bridal bouquets or simply cluster with other narcissus in a vase to bring color, scent and cheer to your kitchen table.
‘Dick Wilden’ The first variety to bloom in our garden each spring, this huge, ultra-ruffled golden flowered beauty is a real winner. It is highly fragrant, lasts incredibly long in the vase, and is always a conversation starter.
‘Flower Drift’: Another highly fragrant double flower narcissus, this beauty has multiple layers of creamy white petals with sweet orange segmented centers.
‘Orangerie’: Always one of the most attention getting varieties, this split-corona bloomer has a warm tangerine center with creamy outer petals.
‘Petit Four’: Of all the daffodils I have seen and grown, none quite compare to the beauty and elegance of this stunner. Its pretty white petals and ruffly apricot-hued center cups, fringed with a subtle antique peach colored ring make it look like a collar.If I could only grown one daffodil, this surely would be it.
‘Pink Charm’: The pretty white petals contrast beautifully with the large central cup and the edges of which look like they were dipped in the perfect shade of peachy-pink.
‘Replete’ The super ruffled flowers of this variety always remind me of fancy ladies in petticoats. A showy blend of cream, peachy pink, and soft orange. One of the best on the market.
‘Sir Winston Churchill’ This variety has thick stems topped with dense white, multi-headed blooms that have a strong fragrance.
‘Tahiti’: The bright, bold double blooms of ‘Tahiti’ evoke a distinct tropical feel in its color as well as its size and scent. As one the bigger narcissus blooms, these multi-petaled flowers are a pretty golden yellow with spirals of deep orange in the center segments.
‘Yellow Cheerfulness’: One of the latest varieties to flower, this cheery bloomer has multiple buttercream blossoms that sit atop tall stems. They are highly scented and look great when combined with anything.
Pictured (left to right): Yellow Cheerfulness, Sir Winston Churchill, Tahiti, Flower Drift, Petit Four, Orangery and Delnashaugh.
Top row: Delnashaugh, Sir Winston Churchill, Tahiti and Yellow Cheerfulness
Bottom Row: Pink Charm, Petit Four, Flower Drift and Orangery
Narcissus and daffodils are such great flowers because they are one of the easiest to grow, will thrive in either sun or part shade, can bloom for many years and can multiply, making them a hardy and reliable workhorse in your early spring cutting garden. As an added bonus, deer (and most other varmints) will steer clear of them, which is a big consideration in some areas of the country.
After a long, hot, super busy summer, we’re all ready for some much-needed rest. But I know that if we can just power through a little longer and tuck the bulbs in this fall, the reward next spring will be worth it.
To celebrate the end of the season and hopefully inspire a few more gardeners to plant narcissus, we’re giving away 3 collections of my favorite varieties (5 bulbs of 5 varieties, for each winner, shipped out mid-October). Because of export restrictions, this giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. To enter, simply add a comment below and tell me: Do you have daffodils on your fall bulb planting list? (or) Do you have some go-to varieties not listed here?
UPDATE: Submissions now closed. Congratulations to Jason B., Linda Q. and Jessica Powers–we’ll get your bulbs sent to you shortly.