The Container Daffodils Live!
In the autumn before last I planted over 100 Daffodil bulbs in pots and not a single one survived the winter. I refer to this incident as the Great Daffodil Disaster of 2017.
Last fall I planted another 140 Daffodil bulbs in a dozen pots. I’ve been watching those pots anxiously to see if there would be a repeat of the previous year’s catastrophe. This cold March has kept me waiting, as everything has been slow to emerge.
However, I have now seen enough in the way of little green Daffodil thumbs sticking up out of the container mix to allow me to declare success. Perplexing that the container bulbs are slower to break dormancy than the ones in the ground, but nevertheless.
So what’s different about this year that resulted in a more successful outcome? Well, I made more drainage holes in the containers. And I wonder if it is better not to pile leaves (especially heavy maple leaves) on top of containers over the winter. Perhaps they hold too much moisture in the potting mix?
This past winter I used composted manure to insulate the Daffodil containers, but I didn’t put any on top. The Tulip containers were covered with shredded wood mulch, to discourage critters from digging in for a meal of Tulip bulbs. (Critters won’t eat Daffs.)
This past weekend I positioned the Daffodil containers around the back garden in their usual places for the growing season (I had done the same with the Tulip containers two weeks earlier.) Then I set about distributing the leftover compost and wood chips.
I spread the compost over nearby beds and borders, giving generous helpings to the roses, the Crabapple tree, and the Clematis. I also sprinkled a bunch over the lawn. (The beds and borders still need a more careful job of edging.) It was a substantial job of work, and makes me wonder about using this approach in the future (as opposed to burying the pots or keeping them in the garage.
Another completed task this weekend was trimming the Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis). They are just now starting to unfurl. I hope to have blooms in a week or two. The weather, though, remains stubbornly cold, so we’ll see.