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Local Experts Provide Landscaping Tips for a Delightful Distraction

Local Experts Provide Landscaping Tips for a Delightful Distraction

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A constant parade of brilliant yellow, orange, white and pink daffodils in my garden helped me through the first two months of quarantine.

We received 200 ‘Tete-a-Tetes’ as a present 15 years ago, and the daffodil became an annual addiction. Every year since, I’ve planted 200 or more daffodils in the fall. Now, we enjoy thousands of flowers over an eight- or nine-week period.

The deer don’t touch them, and the daffodils start blooming at the tail end of February and keep going until the beginning of May. Till this year, with our past history of extensive travel, I’ve never previously had the chance to see a complete season of bloom before – and it was amazing!

To have fresh, fragrant flowers on my table and bunches to share with homebound friends lifted my spirits greatly at a time when things were bleak amid the pandemic – just like a ray of sunshine between dark rain clouds.

Gardeners are great at long-term planning. Large gardens take decades to build and a century to mature. Since we all missed much of the 2020 spring planting season because the coronavirus made garden shopping difficult and mail-order companies ran out of plants and seeds, we need to get a jump on next season by ordering now.

One of my favorite sources for bulbs is Brent and Becky’s, at 7900 Daffodil Lane in Gloucester, Virginia. Personal friends and delightful people, Brent and Becky Heath have grown and provided bulbs to public and private gardens for decades. Their catalogue is on the table next to me, slightly damp because of my drooling on the pages.

You can see inventory and order online at brentandbeckysbulbs.com. If you order from Brent and Becky’s early, you can get what you want for fall planting, and you can save 10 percent off your order by paying by July 1 (hurry!) for September shipments. And certainly, there are many other online and local sources – just be sure to shop early.

You can forget all your troubles as you do a deep dive into the thousands of daffodil varieties. Along with 13 divisions based on flower type, there are six windows of bloom time. Most big bag mixes contain primarily midseason cultivars and make a fine starting point, but as your tastes evolve, you’ll probably want to source season extenders.

The American Daffodil Society’s DaffSeek database (daffseek.org) lists nearly 800 cultivars as very early and 232 as very late. With so much variety, use this downtime to become a daffodil expert!

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