Day of the Daffodil

My and my mother’s weekend adventure was strolling once again through the beautiful Bryn Du Mansion at the 70th Annual Daffodil Show and Sale, held by the Granville (Ohio) Garden Club.  Creativity and dedication to gardening and especially the cultivation of daffodils were in evidence throughout the rooms.  The theme of the show this year was “Daffodil Show 1945: Back to Our Future.”

Nineteen forty-five was the year of the very first daffodil show, and even with the austerity of the Second World War, daffodils were gracing yards and gardens in our little town.  The show celebrated the presence of “daffs” in our lives then and now by staging household vignettes that might have been seen at the end of WWII.  These included a kitchen, a victory garden, a living room and a floor radio.  I had to smile a little as a young mother tried to explain what radio was to her little boy and girl.  I was touched by lovely photos on display of servicemen and women from our area.

Daffodils in a 1940s kitchen vignette
Daffodils in a 1940s kitchen vignette
a 1940s floor radio with Roosevelt portrait and daffodils
a 1940s floor radio with Roosevelt portrait and daffodils
the 1940s living room with photos displayed
the 1940s living room with photos displayed
daffodils in a traditional vase
daffodils in a traditional vase

A large part of the show was dedicated to tables of daffodil creations by Granville residents from their own gardens.   The arrangements ran the gamut from very elaborate to super simple single stems and were inspired by literature, movies and fashions from the 1940s.  I loved them all but my favorites are here. It was a marvelous photo opportunity.  Flowers are seldom awkward or camera-shy.

daffodils and baby's breath in a lady-head vase
daffodils and baby’s breath in a lady-head vase
daffodils and strawberries
daffodils and strawberries
stems in an Arts and Crafts vase
stems in an Arts and Crafts vase

The show also had several large rooms devoted to judging daffodil specimens.  I never knew there were so many in the world!

so many specimens!
so many specimens!
and even more specimens.
and even more specimens.

Most fascinating to me are the miniature varieties.  They are perfectly formed, much tinier versions of the larger flowers.

miniature daffodils in a salt cellar
miniature daffodils in a salt cellar
table setting with miniature daffodils
table setting with miniature daffodils
tiny daffodils in crystal baskets, on a windowsill
tiny daffodils in crystal baskets, on a windowsill
diminutive display
diminutive display

In addition to all the inspiration from the gardeners, there were some shopping opportunities for a good cause.  I bought a nice poster, and bulbs are for sale for autumn delivery and planting.  Proceeds benefit the Garden Club.  My mom was able to select a small bouquet of 8-10 blooms for free.  (But we did give a little donation.)  We were told by a garden club member that when re-cutting daffodils to fit a vase you should never use scissors because it can crush their hollow stems.  Instead use a serrated knife.  More daffodil fun facts:

  • Squirrels, rodents and deer do not eat daffodils or their bulbs
  • Daffodil bulbs are long-lasting–perhaps several generations
  • Daffodils will grow under shallow-rooted ground covers like vinca

I hope you have enjoyed the images and info.  Does your local garden club hold any interesting events?  Have you participated?

for education and beautification
for education and beautification

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I Wish I Was a Better Gardener

I wish I was a better gardener. My mother and father were good gardeners. They mulched and weeded and composted and pruned and their garden was a beautiful little retreat. My mother in law spent many hours tending her flowers and herbs, patiently working away. It was the thing she missed most when she injured her hip and was unable to bend or kneel.   That’s a big reason I wish I really loved gardening. To have the sound mind and body and the earth to plant are such gifts. I have envied a neighbor’s large vegetable plot, thriving and meticulously looked after, yielding veggies for canning and preserves to last the winter.   But I just don’t love gardening. I’ve really tried but the weeds, the heat, the digging in hard clay soil, and the insects just put me right off it.

Blackeyed susans.

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I’ve tried various approaches to gardening at our house. My first attempt was perennials—plant once and they return year after year. They deliver greatest impact for least effort, right? I planted what were supposed to be dwarf hostas under some lilac bushes that shaded our front porch. I put coneflowers and black-eyed Susan (Echinacea and Rudbeckia) under my kitchen window, along with a magnificent Siberian iris, some Asiatic lilies, some day lilies and a few coral-bells. Many have done well … too well. The poor lilies and coral-bells try to grow but get stomped by the now overgrown iris, Echinacea and Rudbeckia. The removal of the lilacs that shaded the hostas has resulted in them growing to mammoth proportions in the spring, then burning in the summer sun. I hadn’t counted on this. The gardening periodicals tell me I must now divide my perennials and hostas and move them all to more favorable locations. Well, that just sounds like work, which is precisely what I was hoping to avoid.

Succulents.

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Lately, I’ve had a little more success with gardening, but it’s been largely due to compromise. I’ve admitted to myself that the commodious, tidy and productive vegetable garden with the zero weed and insect population is probably a pipe dream. Instead, I have switched my focus to containers. They give me a smaller, more controlled growing environment but still are pretty. I can also grow things to eat, which is nice because I really like to eat.  I can buy perfect loamy soil.  My biggest foible with containers is my inattention to their water needs, but I have even found a workaround for that—succulents!  

"Window plant"

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My favorite container this summer is a small succulent collection built on the container gardening design principle of “the Thriller, the Filler and the Spiller.”   This just refers to the use of a dramatic vertical plant (thriller), a fluffy, bushy plant (filler), and a trailing or cascading plant (spiller) all in a single pot. It can be a large pot or a small pot and any plants with similar moisture, space and water requirements are fair game.

photo of a container succulent collection
my favorite container

In my container the thriller is Senecio mandraliscae (the pointy blueish thingie), the filler is Aeonium “Blushing Beauty”, and the spiller is Rhipsalis capilliformis or “Old Man’s Beard” (the bright green seaweedy looking thingie). They are all succulents and live very happily together.   They seem to like the hot sunny edge of my concrete porch and a little shower once in a while and that’s about all they want.  And, I never, ever cease to be amazed at the variety of colors and textures in the succulent category!

photo of a cat and a container of succulents
my container, and “Moe”