In the Garden:
Western Mountains and High Plains
April, 2005
Regional Report

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These 'Pheasant Eye' narcissus are among my favorites because of the way they show off in the morning sun.

There's Gold in Them Thar Rocky Mountain Gardens

Whether they're growing in the front or backyard, or in containers, daffodils are among my favorite heralds of spring. Poets have written about them, ancient Greeks created myths about them, Al Jolson sang songs about them, and most gardeners -- including me -- wouldn't be without some in the landscape.

Daffodils for All
Daffodils (sometimes called jonquils) are in the genus Narcissus, and they include not just the long-stemmed golden trumpets, but also handsome bi- or even tri-colored blooms shaded with orange, red, cream, pink, and even double flowers with row upon row of petals.

There are so many beautiful narcissus varieties available today that you couldn't grow them all. Some narcissus fanciers get hooked and become collectors, sometimes paying hundreds of dollars for a single bulb of a rare or new species. But most of us are content with enjoying a variety of colors and shapes.

Even if you don't have them in your yard this year, you can purchase potted daffodils to add cheer to the patio and deck. Many garden retailers planned ahead last autumn and potted up containers so you can enjoy them now.

Daffodils are especially nice when used for naturalizing an area in the landscape. They create a natural charm when scattered randomly like Nature would plant them, emerging from turf areas in a palate of spontaneous glory.

You can plant daffodils as an edging for borders, or in random clumps. They are most effective when grown in larger masses of 12 to 25 of one variety or color since this gives the most dramatic impact. Smaller clumps (no less than seven bulbs) of one color or variety will still add some drama to the landscape.

Though this is not the correct time to plant daffodils, now is the time to take photos and notes from other gardens around your area to help you plan your spring garden for next season. Note colors and varieties so when autumn arrives you can create your own beautiful daffodil display.


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