Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Bulbs

Painting with Daffodils (page 3 of 3)

by Michael MacCaskey

Buying and Planting Tips

Buying and Planting Tips
Daffodils in spring just weeks before bloom.

Buy bulbs from a reputable dealer, and always keep notes so you know the names of varieties purchased and where you planted them. This way, if you particu more of next time.

Avoid "mixtures" or economy daffodils. Mixes create a hodge-podge look of varying heights, shapes and blooming periods. In nature, a clump or grouping of one type of plant will gradually mix with another, but they won't be thoroughly mixed.

Take cues from the contours of your land and the existing trees. Try to tie these elements together with the bulbs. Sometimes a tree will be the focal point.

An artist by training, Bauer paints with daffodils, flowers and leaves alike. She "carpets" areas with sweeps of yellow, white and orange blossoms. Some daffodil leaves are blue-green, others yellow-green. When blossoms of early bloomers wither, she removes them by hand, leaving areas of green leaves between the remaining areas of color.

In Bauer's garden, south- or west-facing slopes are best, partly because they warm sooner in spring, but also because the daffodil flowers will turn to face the sun. On a north- or east-facing slope, the stems often twist. She prefers large-cupped types for their proportions and because "they do better."

Certainly don't plant in rows, but also don't just "throw bulbs and plant where they fall" as some garden manuals recommend. Plant individual varieties in clumps.

Maintenance?

This is the beauty of it: Bauer's daffodils are maintenance-free. None of them ever receive additional water or fertilizer. None are ever dug or divided (unless they're being disposed of).

When and Where to Visit

Anyone can visit during peak bloom time, early March to early April. The garden is located below Running Springs, California, in the San Bernardino Mountains. From the city of Highland (about 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles), take Highway 330 toward Running Springs. Drive 14 miles into the mountains to the intersection of Live Oak Dr. and Fredalba. Turn right on Fredalba and proceed one mile. Park in the church parking lot. From there, signs will direct you. Although trails and steps follow the undulating hillsides, and benches are available at peak viewing and resting points, access is difficult for wheelchairs and the walking impaired.

'Jetfire' by The International Flower Bulb Center; daffodil sprouts by Suzanne DeJohn/National Gardening Association

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