This Friday 26th August is Daffodil Day. It’s a day to turn your office or home yellow for a great cause. The Cancer Council established Daffodil Day to highlight the need for research and funding into one of Australia’s most significant diseases, cancer. It so widespread that one in every two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85. It’s shocking and it affects all of us, either directly or indirectly. So brighten up your world on Friday and support 25 years of Daffodil Day in Australia. See http://www.daffodilday.com.au/

Did you know that daffodils were named after a character in Greek mythology? Daffodils get their botanical name Narcissus because of the way their little faces look downwards (although modern hybrids do tend to look up more these days). This resembled the beautiful, yet proud and ego-centric, mythical hunter who gazed upon his own reflection in a pond until he eventually died because he couldn’t leave the reflection after falling in love with it, not realising that it was himself.

daffodils_pot.pngIf you buy some potted daffodils this Friday then you can plant them into the garden for next year. Many bulbs grown in pots are forced into flower so they don’t flower well the following year. It’s really important to give your bulbs a really good feed after they have flowered. The bulb will multiply and establish the flower for the next year now so put some compost around your plants to help promote this underground development. Also a liquid feed with fish emulsion, worm juice and seaweed solution will do wonders. Don’t be tempted to keep things tidy as the plant dies down by cutting off the dying leaves. The plant uses these leaves (as unsightly as they can be) to turn the energy it gets from the sun through the leaves into energy for bulb development. So put up with an untidy garden for a little while if you want good flowers next year.

If you want to start from scratch and grow your own daffodils then you’ll have to wait until next autumn/fall. Bulbs become available in the nurseries then and you’ll have a better variety to choose from. Place the bulbs in a paper bag in the crisper compartment of your fridge for about 4-6 weeks to ensure that they get enough “chilling” to force the flowers if you live in a temperate area. Daffodil bulbs tend to do best in cool climate areas. When you plant them out into the garden don’t let the bulbs come into direct contact with any animal manure or blood & bone, improve soil drainage and fertility with decomposed compost instead for best results. Plant them deep, about 2-3 times the diameter of the bulb is recommended. A little bit of liquid fertiliser can be used once the leaves start to poke through the surface, but avoid any fertiliser rich in nitrogen because it can spoil the flowers.

Choose from a variety of single or double flowers; yellow, orange or combination of colours for daffodils. Other Narcissus species include Jonquils, these are the smaller, multi-headed white cousins of the daffodil with an intoxicating aroma.