Guest Blogger – Kathleen LaLiberte, Longfield Gardens

Guest Blogger – Kathleen LaLiberte, Longfield Gardens

Breaking News: The National Garden Bureau has chosen daffodils as the bulb of the year for 2017. This means these cheery, spring-blooming flowers will be getting lots of special attention during the next 12 months. Longfield Gardens wants to help your school join in on the fun!

Before we tell you how you could win 250 free daffodil bulbs for your school, here are a couple cool things you might not know about these spring flowers:

 

img_3704There’s a whole plant inside each bulb. If you slice a daffodil bulb in half you’ll see everything the plant needs for the year ahead: a compressed mass of stem, leaves and flowers, plus stored food energy to fuel its growth. Bulbs evolved to survive difficult growing conditions, and this adaptation makes them incredibly easy to grow.

Daffodils are pretty to look at, but don’t eat them. All parts of a daffodil – bulb, stem, leaves and flowers – are poisonous. To protect themselves from being eaten by deer, squirrels, chipmunks and other pests, daffodils manufacture nitrogen-based alkaloids that have a foul taste and are toxic to mammals.

Daffodils can clone themselves. – Daffodils reproduce by seed and can also produce exact replicas of themselves in the form of “bulb offsets”. It takes about 4 years to grow a daffodil from seed to flower, but a bulb offset will flower almost immediately. Plant a few dozen daffodil bulbs and you’ll soon have hundreds.

Barrett Browning Daffodil

Barrett Browning Daffodil

Not all daffodils are yellow. –Daffodils are native to southern Europe and northern Africa, and there are many natural variations in flower size, shape and color. Over the past 400 years, daffodil breeders have introduced thousands more (see 40 of the best at longfield-gardens.com). Traits breeders are currently working on include pink trumpets, upward-facing flowers, stronger stems and more compact growth habits.

Daffodils can flower in the snow. – Most daffodils are able to withstand extremely cold temperatures by using a number of strategies to avoid freezing. Unlike other spring bulbs such as tulips and hyacinths, daffodil bulbs can bloom even if the bulbs get frozen for brief periods of time. The flowers themselves will usually tolerate temperatures as low as 25 degrees F.

Daffodils live for generations. – Daffodils only need to be planted once. The bulbs are hardy perennials and will return to bloom again every spring, year after year. Over time, the bulbs will multiply and your daffodil display will get better and better.

You don’t need a green thumb to grow a daffodil. – Daffodils are perfectly packaged for success. In the fall, simply dig a hole 8” deep, drop in a bulb and cover it back up. When spring arrives, the plant will emerge from the soil and burst into bloom. Success like that is inspiring – especially to children!


Longfield Gardens is partnering with the National Garden Bureau and Kidsgardening.org, to give away 7500 free daffodil bulbs to school programs around the U.S. Interested in getting free daffodil bulbs to plant at your school?

Here’s how to win:

What You’ll Get: 30 schools will each receive 250 free daffodil bulbs.

Who Can Win: The giveaway is open to all current and new subscribers of KidsGarden News.

Deadline for Entry: Hurry! The deadline to register is October 14. Winners will be announced October 20 and bulbs will be shipped to arrive at your school by November 1.

How to Register: Simply complete the entry form HERE. If you are not already a KidsGarden News subscriber, completing the entry form will also subscribe you to our e-newsletter.

Details: All winners must be willing to share photos from fall planting and spring bloom time (along with parental photo permission forms as needed). The bulbs will need to be planted in early November – before the soil freezes. Planting instructions are included with the bulbs. Depending on soil conditions, it typically takes 2-4 hours to plant 250 bulbs – so with a couple people the project will go quickly!

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About our Guest Blogger:

Kathleen LaLiberte is an avid gardener, horticulturalist and garden writer. She was one of the founders of Gardener’s Supply and now works with Longfield Gardens from her home in northern Vermont.


Photos provided by: Longfield Gardens & BigStock Images

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