Already in late autumn, an enthusiastic gardener imagines a spring garden in bloom ... Moreover, he has already planted the bulbs of the most spring and joyful flowers - crocuses, tulips, daffodils. Do we know well about the secret, "underground" life of these amazing plants?
Bulbous and corms have been grown in gardens since time immemorial. For Europeans, the bright flowers blooming in early spring were of great aesthetic importance. These exotic plants first came to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean (tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses), and many miniature species came to gardens from the forests of Southern Europe, the foothills of the Caucasus (snowdrops, redwoods, white flowers, muscari, pushkinia and others).
It is the flowers of bulbous and corms that adorn our gardens in early spring and autumn with the brightest colors, various forms and their aroma. Moreover, they are unpretentious and accessible for growing even by inexperienced gardeners.
Bulbous - the name of this group of flowering plants comes from the name of their storage organ - bulbs. The bulb is a modified shoot, where the stem corresponds to the bottom of the bulb, numerous juicy scales attached to the bottom are modified leaves. In the center there are thicker juicy scales, closer to the periphery they are thinner, and the outer scales turn into thin translucent films of light brown color. When the onion is dried, they are easily separated. The shape and size of the bulbs depend on the genus, species and variety of plants, as well as on age. Lateral bulbs (babies) are formed in the sinuses of the scales, attached to the mother bulb at the base of the bottom.
Real bulbs have: daffodil, tulip, hyacinth, lily, hazel grouse; small-bulbous plants - galanthus, scilla, pushkinia, chionodoxa, bird plant (ornithogalum), white flower, decorative bows, pavonia tigridia (blooms in August - September, does not overwinter in open ground). All these species reproduce by children, and small-bulbous ones also reproduce by seeds (self-sowing or special sowing with freshly harvested seeds in summer, or before winter).
One of the popular bulbous plants is the daffodil (Narcissus). Daffodils (family Amaryllidaceae) are among the most beloved plants in the whole world; these flowers have been grown in gardens since ancient times. Theophrastus gives a description of the narcissist 300 BC. It was cultivated in Ancient Egypt, Iran, Ancient Greece, Rome. Ancient oriental poetry praised daffodils as much as roses. Narcissus is indeed one of the most beautiful flowers in the world of plants, and the origin of the legend about Narcissus is understandable - a young man who saw himself reflected in a mirror of water, fell in love with him and died of exhaustion, unable to take his eyes off him ...
The words of the prophet Muhammad are often quoted: "Whoever has two loaves, let him sell one to buy a daffodil flower, for bread is food for the body, and daffodil is food for the soul." The Persian king Cyrus called the daffodil "... the creation of beauty - an immortal delight." The ancient Romans honored the winners with wreaths of yellow daffodils.
In China, in ancient times, it was considered mandatory to have a daffodil in every home on the New Year. These flowers were used to decorate altars and used in religious rituals. In one of the Chinese provinces - in Canton - there was a tradition of growing daffodils in glass cups filled with water, pebbles or sand. Flowers in such bowls were surprisingly fragrant, blooming for a long time. In England, these sophisticated flowers are loved even more than traditional roses. Daffodil bulbs are more expensive on the world market than tulip bulbs.
The range of use of these plants is very wide: from soil planting in landscaping, cutting, forcing in winter and to container culture. The modern register contains more than 30 thousand varieties of daffodils of various garden groups. About 900 breeders in almost twenty countries of the world worked on the selection of daffodils at different times (most of all - in England, Holland, New Zealand, USA, Australia). In addition to decorative value, these plants have their own "niche" in medicine and perfumery - their alkaloids and essential oils are in demand in these industries.
Botanists count about 60 species of wild daffodils, distributed mainly in the Mediterranean and Southern Europe, distinguish eight groups. Among them there are many-flowered forms: jonquillia, tacetta (also especially fragrant), triandrus with 5-7 drooping flowers, the "petals" of which are bent upwards, often twisted; cyclamen-like, and also daffodils of autumn flowering (Narcissus graceful, Narcissus late, Green-flowered daffodil).
Natural forms serve as the initial material for crossing and obtaining new forms and varieties with a rich palette of colors, various combinations of colors and shapes of "petals" and tubes (crowns) of daffodil flowers. Varietal daffodils according to the international classification are divided into 12 groups (tubular, crown, small-crowned, double, triandrus, cyclamen, jonquillia, tacette, poetic, species (they are short, bloom early, grow for a long time in one place, are used on slides, in rockeries); split-crown (butterfly daffodils); rare forms and hybrids not included in other groups).
The benefits of this culture are obvious:
• unpretentious, exquisitely beautiful, fragrant. The flowers of some varieties from the cut-crown group are extraordinary in shape and resemble exotic orchid flowers, azaleas;
• perennial bulbs, in one place they can grow for many years (more than 4);
• bulbs are poisonous and therefore are not damaged by mice in the autumn-winter period;
• effectively and intelligently plant daffodils among tulips, lilies, small-bulbous, rhizome perennials - their toxicity serves as protection for other garden flowers. Of course, you need to work with daffodil bulbs only with rubber gloves.
Read the next part. Reproduction, planting and caring for daffodils →
Elena Olegovna (Marasanova) Kuzmina
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If you look at the photo gallery, you can not believe your eyes - daffodils, it turns out, are so different. And miniature, and lush, and bright, and aristocratic pale. Daffodils can be indoor and garden, large-crowned and small, domestic and wild. Consider the most interesting options for this plant.
An adult flower can grow up to half a meter. It blooms in May for 12 days.
Flowering begins in the second half of May and lasts 2 weeks.
Usually, yellow daffodils become beneficial neighbors of tulips, the royal crown, and they are also found in mixed plantings with the obligatory inclusion of juniper.
Blossoming of white daffodil occurs at the end of May. It lasts no more than 10 days.
And this, of course, is not all. We can say that this is just the beginning of the story about daffodils. A flower classification assumes at least 12 plant species. And already each species is represented by a whole list of varieties.
Let's take a look at some of the plant species with the most popular varieties.
A separate group includes all those daffodils that cannot be described as belonging to any of the groups already described. A completely unusual appearance in the Peruvian daffodil, which, however, is often called a lily. Therefore, the choice of the grower is great. Beginning lovers of garden beauty should not ignore this culture, since there are no annual varieties of narcissus, all types are perennial. This simplifies the care of the plant, therefore it is not necessary to dig it out every year, in one place it spends from 2 to 5 years.
Between mid-August and September are the best landing times. In Holland, daffodil bulbs are planted after digging and separating the baby, i.e. right away. They believe that this will protect the bulbs from drying out during storage and allow the bulbs to take root and develop a root system before the onset of cold weather.
Before planting, daffodil bulbs must be etched in a pink solution of potassium permanganate as a preventive measure against gray rot and fusarium.
The planting depth of daffodil bulbs depends on their size, the mechanical composition of the soil. Plant the bulbs shallower in heavy soils and deeper in lighter soils. Above the bulbs should be a layer of soil without mulch of 8-12 cm. The planting depth is measured from the bottom of the bulb to the soil surface. There should be a distance of approximately two bulb diameters between the bulbs.
How far to plant daffodils from each other? When growing daffodils for many years in one place, you need to plant the bulbs at least 15-20 cm apart from each other, since the nests will grow strongly, the feeding area will decrease and the bulbs will shrink. In the heat, the plants must be watered.