2018-04-19 / From The Garden

Daffodils Are a Sunny Jewel of the City

By Cynthia Gibson

Oxford Gold daffodils. Oxford Gold daffodils. This is the time when daffodils make their debut. These strong, stiff-stemmed flowers can withstand a snow shower and a mild frost. They bloom in a host of colors and combinations that are easy to plant, and best of all, deer hate their poisonous bulbs.

The only downside with daffodils is creating a flower arrangement. They are best displayed as they grow upright, with trimmed stems in a vase of your choice.

Daffodil fanciers are a very particular group, and perfection is their goal. There is much to be learned from their trained eyes and their knowledge. I have never seen anything more serious than a daffodil show in Greenwich, Connecticut. While the judges were on the floor, there was complete silence.

The distinguishing feature of the daffodil is the long trumpet-like center in the structure of the flower. A narcissus, which is the second bulb variety, has a small flat cup center, reminiscent of an eye.

Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. The most exotic daffodils are ruffled, and bi-colored or green. Even though fields of yellow daffodils in spring are a breathtaking sight, there is more to the sturdy daffodil than the color yellow. Their beauty is a remarkable addition to our landscape by the sea. Even better, the daffodils are planted in different areas of Newport each year, so we just do not know where they will pop up.

The daffodil comes in many different shapes and sizes. The miniatures are among my favorites, because their tiny heads bob in the breeze and they are short enough to stand up through rain or a bit of snow.

A unique mini daffodil is Oxford Gold, which has a large soup-bowl type of cup with a tiny star behind it, acting as a saucer.

The minis come in yellow, white, combinations of both or yellow and orange. The yellow and orange minis are called Jetfire, which is an imposing name for such a tiny flower.

Daffodils have trumpets of different sizes. The largest are found in varieties like British Gamble Giant Daffodil or the Dutch Master Trumpet Daffodil. British Gamble Giant is huge, with the span of the opened flower up to six inches across. And not only is its size a wonder, so is its coloration. It has a perianth of six white petals and a large apricot colored trumpet. It is simply spectacular.

The Dutch Master Trumpet daffodil was popular last fall and has a perianth of a slightly lighter yellow shade then the most golden yellow trumpet. It is also a stunner.

Some daffodils smell downright musty. For a sweet, fragrant winner from year to year, your choice should be Tahiti. This is the most amazing yellow double daffodil, with orange feather-like petals.

So, hop in your car and slowly drive around our island to enjoy the beauty and variety of daffodils. One thing is for certain: if your daffodils are up, Mother Nature has declared it is spring.

Return to top