Get to Know Daffodils
Daffodils typically arrive at the Dallas Arboretum in late January or early February, harbingers of spring and the beautiful tulips of Dallas Blooms to come. Before they arrive (only ONE has bloomed as of January 21, 2019), we wanted to give you a chance to get a little more about our favorite February flower.
You can recognize these beauties by their white or yellow trumpet shaped petals surrounding a yellow, pink or white center, and impress friend with their botanical name, “Narcissus.”
More about Daffodils
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.
Daffodil bulbs are used extensively in landscaping because they are quick to naturalize and they deter animal pests. Both bulbs and leaves produce toxic crystals that rodents and deer don’t like. Thus, they protect more scrumptious flowerbed or garden delicacies with which they share soil. In face, they are a significant portion of the 500,000 spring-blooming bulbs we plant at the Dallas Arboretum in November, because they bloom early, protect the flower beds, and are the perfect way to kick off our unmatched spring display.
Daffodil flowers are easy to grow and care for, and we love them, because they’re well adapted to our North Texas climate and soil.
If you want to grow your own, follow these tips. Plant the bulbs in late fall to early winter under three to four inches of soil. Then water them and feed with an all purpose fertilizer or composted manure. After they bloom, allow the tall green leaves to yellow before cutting them back. This will allow the daffodil bulb to generate new energy for the next growing season.
What’s in a Name? The Tragic Story of Narcissus and Echo
The story of Daffodil’s botanical name is interesting. It comes from the character in Greek mythology, of the same name. Narcissistic people also get their description from this Greek youth, whom the gods granted incredible good looks.
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, nothing but an echo. 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. The vain young man 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.”