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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Special "Mentoring Moments" from Allen Haas

This is a special note from Daffodil Grower, Allen Haas.  Read on and join the fun! Be ready for next year's spectacular daffodil show.





A P R I L   2 0 1 9
"Mentoring Moments"
Allen Haas

The purpose of this monthly newsletter is to encourage daffodil growers in the American Daffodil Society.  The primary reference is the ADS "The Daffodil PrimerZone 3-7" (TDP).  Zone specific copies are mailed to all new members. Additional copies may be obtained thru the web store on daffodilusa.org.

Each newsletter stands alone and only focuses on each month's suggested activities.  Even though I'm writing from my personal perspective, I grow in zone 7a in the mountains of western North Carolina at around 2200 feet; I hope readers can take something from each newsletter.

In addition, growers are highly encouraged to reach out to their local societies and ADS Regional Vice Presidents and Directors for additional mentoring and growing advice. A current list of ADS Regions, local societies, and Regional Vice Presidents' e-mail addresses can be found at:  https://daffodilusa.org/about-ads/societies-near-you/

Good luck and happy growing!

Allen Haas
Chairman, Membership Committee
 

What to do now?

1.  Change is inevitable.  Really?

2.  Identify your daffodils

3.  Fertilize or not

1.  Change is inevitable.  Really?


When I left on April 4th to audit Judges’ School 1 and attend both the Gloucester and Alexandria, VA daffodil shows, my daffodil blooms were in pretty good shape. When I returned home 11 days later, I found lots of flattened foliage, but hardly any blooms.  My weather app alerts of “hail, tornado-level winds and heavy rains” (6.5 cumulative inches) were all sadly true.  Some of my late planted daffodils may still bloom, but my show season is basically over.  Yet, daffodils are tough and mine are no exception.  While repairing some erosion problem areas, I’m happy to report my strategy of mulching and interplanting my daffodils among emerging daylilies has worked out just fine.  Most of my gardens are on hillsides or in raised beds which help to minimize drainage problems.  Yes, change is inevitable, so I’m already planning on dividing and moving a number of my daffodils to more eye-pleasing positions in my gardens.
 

2.  Identify your daffodils


Why take the time to identify your daffodils?  Sure, you can just plant and enjoy your daffodil blooms, but you probably joined the ADS because you wanted to learn more about daffodils.  A simple “name” unlocks a plethora of information about your daffodils especially on Daffseek.org.  When you discuss your favorite blooms with fellow growers, it’s also more rewarding to discuss specific varieties rather than a general description. I recently found a gorgeous little two-bloom white and pink variety in one of my gardens, but had no idea what it was.  Fortunately, I took a couple of stems to the Gloucester show and showed them to Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.  His eyes lit up and he said, “Oh yes, that’s one we hybridized and it’s called Sweet Smiles!”  I encourage you to go to Daffseek.org and see all that I discovered about this little jewel. Knowing its name also allowed me to enter the bloom in the Gloucester show because as my judging school instructors emphasized, “unknown or misidentified blooms will not be judged.”  Another excellent source in your identification efforts is your daffodil mentor.  I encourage you to reach out to them.
 

3.  Fertilize or not


My thoughts on this subject have generated the most response of anything I’ve discussed so far.  Yes, we gardeners definitely have strong opinions and most aren’t bashful about voicing them.  All I can do is write confidently about what works for me.  At this time, in my garden, I only plan to apply a foliar feed which will quickly be taken up by the still actively growing plants.

Still, I did ask a commercial landscaper and a visiting Dutch bulb grower about their fertilizing strategies.  Both said they apply a good 3 to 4-month time-release bulb fertilizer when the leaves first start breaking ground, which for them is usually in mid or late winter.  The time-release fertilizers I’m familiar with break down over time, based on temperature.  The warmer it is the quicker they will release their nutrients.  Time-release fertilizers are generally more expensive than regular formulated fertilizers, but their main advantages are that they lessen the chance of burning a plant with too much fertilizer all at once and they only need to be applied once vice 2-3 times over the same timeframe.

In the end, we all have to figure out what works best for us.  One of the joys of gardening is learning about new techniques and then seeing if they work for you.

Lastly of note, my daffodil mentor e-mailed me that they probably need to update the Georgia DS “Annual Calendar of Care” advice in fertilizing early-date hybridized historicsand species daffodils!  “We need to indicate one fertilizes sparingly….and if the soil is rich and a heavy leaf litter maintained, then fertilizing is really not needed.”

Good luck and see you next month!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Maggie entertaining our guests


Another fun day for Maggie!  Entertaining her new friends. Thank goodness for Spring Break!