Planting Daffodils and Saving Time

How this low-maintenance gardener plants daffodils

by Susan Harris

I’m embarrassed to tell you how I used to plant daffodils – one at a time, all spaced about a foot apart.  Here’s what’s wrong with that approach:

  • To state the obvious, to get hundreds of daffs in the ground meant digging hundreds of 8-inch-deep holes.  Lots of work, lots of time involved.
  • And not quite so obvious is the rather boring-looking result.  Boring and unnatural – because plants never grow evenly spaced like that.  Not coincidentally, what looks best to our eyes is usually what mimics (but improves on) the way plants grow in nature.

So, here’s technique I’m using these days – planting 3-8 bulbs per hole for a nice little clump, and a lot less work for this aging gardener.

4 Responses to Planting Daffodils and Saving Time

  1. Eva says:

    Exactly what I do. It takes me forever to get up the will to plant them as it is. If I did one per hole, they’d NEVER get planted.

    • Cheryl Anne says:

      Here’s my problem: I already have lots of daffodils in the ground from previous years. I just don’t know where they are. Whenever I dig a hole to plant new bulbs, I end up inadvertently digging up (and usually slicing through) daffodils.

      • susan harris says:

        Cheryl, that’s happened to me more times than I’d like to admit. But creating maps of all the bulb locations seems impossible in my mixed borders, and when it comes to choosing the best place to put a daffodil bulb versus the right spot for a shrub or perennial, I always give preference to the larger plant. And daffs are cheap!

  2. Gayle Adkins says:

    Aging gardener describes a daffy old woman who does my gardening. Me!

    As for the daffs, the one that plants, and the one that blooms, here is my solution.

    No serious digging required!

    Find a low spot where water seems to collect, if you have one, or just pick any spot, and just jam your shovel into the ground around an area, just rough up the top of the ground.

    Put the Daffs on top, and put them close together, it won’t hurt them, and how long do I have to wait for them to multiply anyway? I like the concept of the instant garden, and gardens don’t have to be level across the ground, anyway, some humps of plants, like emerging or blooming Daffs, Tulips, or fox glove, any plant, really, adds some interest when planted in a hump of soil..

    Lay them out, and open a bag (or two if needed,) of rich dirt, mixed with whatever you like, some sort of Bloom Buster, maybe a bit of peet moss, or compost, or just use the bags of dirt, and just pile the mix on top of the bulbs until they are covered by about the amount of depth directed. Keep in mind, they will bloom even if they only have three or four inches of dirt above them.

    It won’t matter if there are more Daffs under your chosen spot that you can’t see, because you will only be creating a longer blooming season for your Daffs, since the deeper ones will emerge from the ground later than the top ones you plant this year. The rule is, no digging!

    You can also mix other bulbs in as well. I find that the rules of planting and gardening, were made to be broken, or at the least, modified to suit my lazy, Daffy old gardener personality, and the pinched nerve in my neck!

    This method is one that you won’t put off, and you’ll be adding some good dirt every year to your beds.

    Jeeze, if only someone had told me back when I was young, and a by-the-book, perfectionistic young gardener, I may never have ended up with my pinched nerve in the first place!

    Rule number one is: I don’t do dig!

    It’s far easier and just as effective to pile dirt on top, as it is to break your neck digging!
    And trust me, the result is a far more interesting garden, do you dig it?

    Grama-ma, the Daff! :-)

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