2017 Year of the Daffodil

It's that time of year when I can pick handsfulls of daffodils to share with friends and family.

It's that time of year when I can pick handsfulls of daffodils to share with friends and family.

2017 is the Year of the Daffodil

Did you know that daffodil bulbs were introduced to North America by pioneer women who made the long ocean voyage from Europe to America to build a new future?

Those European settlers were quite creative with how they travelled. Given limited space for bringing personal goods, they sewed dormant daffodil bulbs into the hems of their skirts to plant at their new North American homes to remind them of the gardens they left behind.  The remnant ancestors of those bulbs still persist today in older gardens in the eastern half of the US, making them a part of our heritage for over 300 years!

Land surveyors at a federal agency where I used to work told me they also used to look for the yellow daffodil swaths as hints for old Missouri homesteads. Many Scottish Irish immigrants settled in Missouri as they were traveling west and their party hit some mishap - a broken axle, injured horse, sick child. Even those settlers carried with them a few bulbs as reminders of their original homes.

Daffodils are popular spring flowers where I live because they are also deer-proof. Daffodils belong to the Amaryllidaceae plant family. The official botanical genus name for Daffodils is narcissus, which comes from the Greek word ‘Narkissos’ and its base word ‘Narke’, meaning sleep or numbness, attributed to the sedative effect from the alkaloids in its plants. 

I have daffodils all over my one-acre limestone hillside, some gifts, others rescues from other gardens, few purchased. Although it's not always easy to dig holes, the bulbs do settle in and naturalize, even in the hardest limestone and sandstone hillsides.

This is a good time of year to mark where they are growing if you want to move them later. I prefer them scattered throughout the hillside so I can enjoy seeing them out of all of my windows.

And I can always find room for more. In my world, daffodils are "in" every year.