Daffodil Days Are Here At Last
The daffodil, or Narcissus, flowers are the early harbingers of spring and are known by their white or yellow trumpet-shaped petals surrounding a yellow, pink or white center. There are thousands of hybrid varieties in as many combinations of colors. Most daffodil flowers are fragrant, and some even appear and bloom in early winter. November and December are the best time to plant daffodil bulbs.
Daffodil bulbs are used extensively in landscaping because they are quick to naturalize and deter animal pests from more scrumptious flowerbed or garden delicacies. Bulbs and leaves produce toxic crystals that rodents and deer don’t like.
Daffodil flowers are easy to grow and care for. They are well adapted to our North Texas climate and soil. Plant the bulbs in late fall to early winter under three to four inches of soil, water them and feed with an all-purpose fertilizer or composted manure. After they bloom, allow the tall green leaves to yellow before cutting it back. This will allow the daffodil bulb to generate new energy for the next growing season.
Origins of the Daffodil: The Tragic Story of Narcissus and Echo
Remember Narcissus? Know people who are narcissistic? It all flows from the famous Greek myth about Narcissus, a handsome youth who was granted his great good looks by the gods. But as in most myths, there was a catch. His beauty was permanent and he was immortal – as long as he never viewed his own reflection. Once, while Narcissus was hunting in the woods, a nubile wood nymph named Echo saw him from her hiding place behind a tree. He was so handsome that she fell desperately in love, but Narcissus spurned her. She was so devastated by his rejection that she wept and wailed, and was ultimately consumed by her love. She pined so that soon, all that was left of her was her voice. The prophecy of her name had come true. But the gods were not pleased. The goddess, Nemesis, heard about poor Echo, and lured Narcissus to a shimmering lake. There in his vain state, he was unable to resist gazing at his own reflection, and fell in love with himself! As he gazed, the divine penalty took effect, and he simply faded away. In his place sprang up the golden flower that bears his name today. Now you know how daffodils came to be, and also why psychologists warn vain patients about the “Narcissus complex.”
Daffodil Days are here at last! From February 1–28, visit the Dallas Arboretum for $5 admission and watch as the daffodils pop up throughout the garden. Buy tickets and parking on our website.
Written by Dave Forehand, VP of gardens at the Dallas Arboretum