What’s Blooming This Week?
The crocus and snow drops have faded and the daffodil moves into center stage. Pansies and Hyacinths are also beginning to bloom.
This week, I will feature the daffodil, as it will continue blooming for a few more weeks.
I have several varieties of daffodils, also called narcissus, in the garden. Most of these varieties bloom at slightly different times, thus the daffodil bloom season in Abe’s Beer Garden extends over several weeks in the spring. The varieties range from pure yellow, pale yellow, yellow with orange centers, white as well as several others.
Daffodil or Narcissus
The Legend of Narcissus
There are several versions of the Greek legend of the origin of the narcissus flower. The most popular relates that Narcissus, who was the son of the river god Cephissus and the naiad, or nymph, Liriope, was a very handsome lad. A Greek seer, Tiresias, prophesied that the young man would live a long life as long as he did not see a reflection of himself. As he grew into a young man many women tried to enlist his favor, however he rejected all of them.
One in particular, a Echo, an Oread, or mountain nymph, saw him as he strolled in the forest. She fell in love with him.
Echo had earlier caught the eye of Zeus, who had consorted with her. Zeus’ wife and sister Hera caught the two and inflicted on Echo the curse of only being able to repeat the last words spoken to her. Echo had slipped away into the forest and happened upon Narcissus and fell promptly in love. She began to follow him as he wandered through the forest.
Narcissus sensed someone following him, and shouted, “Whose there?”
Unfortunately, all Echo could answer was, “Whose There?”
She approached him and tried to embrace him, but he pushed her away and told her to go away. Echo wandered away, and spent the rest of her life pining for the young man that had rejected her. She gradually faded away, leaving only the legacy of her echo when someone shouts into the hills.
Falling in Love With Himself
The goddess of revenge, Nemesis, noticed Echo’s plight. She knew it was Narcissus that had set Echo into this fate and sought to avenge her. She approached Narcissus, who had been out hunting. He had grown quite thirsty. Nemesis lured him to a pool and caused him to fall in love with himself as he bent down to drink from the pool and saw his reflection. Narcissus could not take his eyes off of himself and wasted away by the pool, eventually turning into the bright yellow flower we admire today.
The daffodil, or narcissus, is a spring flowering bulb which is quite perennial in northern gardens. North of USDA Zone 8 is their recommended range. They are native to Europe, the Mediterranean region and western Asia. Their height ranges from six to twelve inches. Flower colors are mostly various shades of yellow, but there are whites, reds, oranges, and pinks. The flowers of some varieties are sweetly scented,
The daffodil boasts both single and doubled blossoms. The doubles tend to bend over in periods of heavy rain, but they are quite elegant in the daffodil garden.
This spring flowering bulb is one of the first flowers to show color in the season. The daffodil blooms reliably from year to year and requires little care other than division every three or four years.
The daffodil bulbs are planted in the fall, set about two inches deep. Or one and one half times the size of the bulb. Plant them slightly deeper if in doubt. The plants will start to emerge in late winter, blooming here in southeastern Indiana starts in late March. Different varieties which I have planted cause the blooming season to last four to six weeks, depending upon the weather.
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