Sunday Garden Chat: Daffodils Are A Promise

marvel DaffyBirds1

From commentor Marvel:

We’ve had a fairly wild Winter here in the Willamette Valley (including an odd-for-us spell with 20 inches of accumulated snow last month), but things have settled down into a more normal pre-Spring pattern of rainy days and moderate temperatures.

And right on schedule: our flamboyant, daffy friends.

No daffs here north of Boston yet, apart from the pots of minis I bought at last weekend’s garden show. But something in the strength and angle of the sunlight Saturday afternoon has made the indefinable shift from “winter’s not over” to “Spring will come — eventually!”

How are things in your gardens, this week?

60 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    My bride is the go-go gal for tulips bulbs in her garden club. She’s been getting tons of thanks for organizing and distributing hundreds of bulb in the neighborhood. Here’s one of hers.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Currants says:

    Snow drops blooming, crocus and some daffs poking through snow/dirt!

  4. 4
    PurpleGirl says:

    Marvel: great picture of the daffodils.

    Raven: more great pictures of tulip, pear tree, and rabbit (?)

  5. 5
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    Friday and Saturday were first opportunities here in south central Indiana to get in the vegetable garden. Not only was it warm enough, but the ground had managed to dry out for the first time from a winter that had snow on the ground almost 80% of the time since early December.

    Over six hours of work, I managed to till the entire 1,860 sq ft of the main garden, and clear the drainage path along the west side that channels water drained from corner of house along the entire length of one side of the garden to distribute it during summer. Assuming we will have rain this summer. Who knows given the wildly variable weather patterns? I will say this, the $1,000 rear tine powered wheels tiller I bought three years ago is fantastic. Cuts through the garden like butter, and it is prepped and ready after only about six hours hard work, less than half the time it took with my ancient front tine tiller that died three years ago after 20 years of faithful service.

    It has continued to be cold enough most nights that only in past few days have a few bulbs in the front yard dared to start poking shoots above the ground. This is a vast change from the past decade, when winters have been so mild they start sprouting in late February.

    My strawberries, which I reseated in late Fall, did not survive the harsh ice and snow we had this winter. I think I got to them to late and they could not reestablish. I have decided to call them quits, and plant a bed 8 x 14 feet of varieties of sunflowers. I grew one, the Titan, last year, that reached 11 feet tall, and I kept the seeds from one giant head.

    I hope to start getting greens and snap peas into the ground soon, but my wife has hip replacement surgery scheduled Monday, so the next two weeks are going to be a little more demanding as to where I spend my time.

  6. 6
    qwerty42 says:

    In Athens, daffodils past peak, mix of redbuds, wild pears out. Have seen some dogwoods well along, but most are not. Considering we had a fairly unpleasant winter, am a bit surprised.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:


    Here is our stinky bradford pear tree.

    Campus of college was (and is) rightfully proud of its horticulture and long history of dedication to natural preservation and ecology.

    But there was one particular path lined with gingko trees on the way to my dorm. The female trees drop seeds which smell like vomit which has aged in the urinal of a bus station restroom, squared. Even the most sedentary of students could be found jogging past that section.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    @PurpleGirl: Whistle Pig!

  9. 9
    raven says:

    @NotMax: Yep, Athens had them downtown, even had a Golden Gingko Festival for years. The finally cut them down.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    PurpleGirl says:

    @raven: Thank you. The way the sun is hitting the critter, I couldn’t really tell what it was. I’ve never heard the name Whistle Pigs, which Wikipedia tells me is a groundhog. Anyway, it’s a good picture.

  12. 12
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Only crocuses here so far. The daffodils and Irises have just begun to sample the sunshine, as tho they aren’t sure it’s real. And of course, right on schedule, rain and snow forecast for tomorrow night. We won’t see 50 again till Thursday at best.

    Got my potatoes and onions this week and tilled up that part of the garden yesterday. Sticking them in the ground today AFTER I pick up the composted manure I forgot to get Friday.

    @raven: Hope you aren’t planning on eating any melons this year. That bad boy will raid your frig if you forget to lock the door.

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @PurpleGirl: It was shot with some branches in the foreground. Suckers bolt if you get to close!

  14. 14
    PurpleGirl says:

    There was a ginko tree on a side street, Lower East Side, on the way to the Williamsburg Bridge. You could smell it even in you car with the windows closed. Pretty leaves but the smell is atrocious.

  15. 15
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: They are all over here. What I did not know until last year was that they climb trees! I walked into the backyard and a huge one was up in a peach tree right at eye level. Scared the shit out of me!

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Better lock the windows too! A few years back when I was on the edge of town I had one discover the garden, map it out, and schedule multiple nighttime raids, which were then executed with great precision and daring. EVERY TIME I had a melon come within 24 hrs of perfection, it was nothing but rinds by sunrise.

  17. 17
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    The headline on the front page said, “Elephants run amok in Missouri”. I thought they were talking about the state legislature. Nope, turns out it was some circus elephants escaped.

    Not much difference.

  18. 18
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Here in my corner of southern Maryland, just crocuses so far. No daffodils, no forsythia.

    And an hour away from my doorstep, the Cherry Blossom Festival commenced yesterday. Without any cherry blossoms, needless to say. I expect they’ll be in full bloom around tax time.

  19. 19
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Seeds have sprouted.

    I followed the advice of Betty Cracker’s husband and my peppers achieved about 80% germination. Great improvement.

    FINALLY received some tomato seeds that I ordered maybe a century ago, so I’ll plant some of them and see what happens.

  20. 20
    satby says:

    Gave up on my pepper seeds til later, the tomatoes in the other 1/2 of the flat were getting too tall to keep under the dome. So now I started geraniums and petunias in my second batch of seed-starting. I love my seed starter set from Park seeds, the germination rate seems to be great (except for the peppers, but those seeds were from 2 seasons ago).

  21. 21
    satby says:

    @Linda Featheringill: could you repeat that advice please? The failure of the peppers was frustrating!

  22. 22
    geg6 says:

    The only sign of spring I’ve got in my yard is the pussywillows. The daffodils and tulips haven’t even poked out green shoots yet. Ground is probably still to cold after the horrific cold last month. I’m not celebrating spring until I see them.

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    Okay, FYWP. AL, get me out of moderation.

  24. 24
    Gindy51 says:

    Lovely flowers, but any chance you can snap a pic of that painting in the back ground. It is lovely.
    Not even going near the garden for weeks. We are set for another short blast of snow. MAYBE Monday we will do our recycle run, stop by the plat store and get a tree to replace our dead (SOBS) red bud and some dirt and peat moss for the vegetable garden. No sense putting it in as we won’t be planting until May 1.

  25. 25
    Linda Featheringill says:


    Mr. Cracker reportedly has great luck with peppers from seeds. Me, not so much.

    Mr. C. said he used a system whereby the seeds would be watered from the bottom. Otherwise, pepper might drown.

    So I bought a contraption from Burpee and the darned thing seems to work.;catId=

  26. 26
    WereBear says:

    We had another snowstorm this weekend. But it’s no more than I expect this time of year… skiing is just barely winding down.

  27. 27
    raven says:

    We got our milkweed seeds yesterday and will be doing our part to save the butterfly’s!

  28. 28
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Looks easier than the way I’ve been doing it. My seeds have come up well this year unlike years past. Something to do with actually paying attention to them this year I guess. Only some of my older pepper seeds failed to come up, and now my dill is dying, don’t know why.

  29. 29
    geg6 says:


    I love butterflies. We have two butterfly bushes in our yard and I love watching them flit all about them. They do that in our rosé garden, too. It’s lovely in mid-summer. The butterflies make me feel peaceful.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    satby says:

    @Linda Featheringill: oh, thanks. That’s pretty much the same as what I use already, I just think the peppers needed to be a little hotter for linger than the tomatoes. This happened to me last year too, I gave up on them, but when it warmed to about 80 in the sun as I hardened the sprouted plants in the flat off, damned if the peppers didn’t start. Way late.

  32. 32
    raven says:

    Off to Clemson, Go Illini!

  33. 33
    Mike E says:

    It’s the ginkgo berries that make garbage strikes in Phila. moar bearable.

    I’d rather have those trees than Bradfords…those pear shaped abominations smell worse and can’t weather even the mildest of storms. Realtors love ’em tho.

  34. 34
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: PRAISE JESUS!!!! (the Mexican mountain guide)

  35. 35
    Botsplainer says:

    I had a complicated set of meetings yesterday that included playing with a one month old colt AND cooing over a foal that had been born twenty minutes prior.

    The foal was tottering around and nuzzling her handler while mama was getting cleaned up. Not real steady on her feet, and still had birth gunk on her.

    That was super cool.

  36. 36
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gindy51: I lost my redbud tree last year and had it taken down. So sad, it was the first thing I planted when I bought my house in 1987.

    Of course, that was shortly eclipsed by my huge silver maple crashing on my house – 7 feet in diameter. I loved that tree. It was the anchor for the yard, and my whole property, if that makes any sense. It was there when my house was built in the 1940s, and they built beside it. Loved that tree.

  37. 37
    geg6 says:


    Yes. It really makes me sad. They are so beautiful. We had a few last year. Hope I’ll see some this year.

  38. 38
    big ole hound says:

    Here in NorCal our whole block is letting gardens lay fallow this year to save the water. We decided to use our local 2 day a week farmers market which is pretty good. Our water company is sharing with some not so lucky towns and has ask for a 15% reduction so I will be a good neighbor.

  39. 39
    Amir Khalid says:

    I would have worried about something else altogether. The Malay verb mengamuk means much the same as “to go ballistic” does in modern American vernacular; the story of Hang Tuah and the amuk tells of the legendary Malay hero’s confrontation with a spree killer.

  40. 40
    Svensker says:


    Me hate groundhogs.

    Cute little buggers but… When they invaded our New Jersey garden, they took the entire 10×12 plot down, chewed every single thing down to the ground. We put in chicken wire fencing, resowed, and when everything sprouted, the buggers figured out how to get in and ate the 2nd round down to the ground. So we got sturdier fences, bought some stuff plants at the garden store and tried again — it took the groundhog family about 2 weeks to figure out how to get around the big fence and they ate every last thing down to the ground.

    Until they invaded, we were self-sufficient with vegetables through summer and fall. They cost us a lot of money and work.

    As far as the garden in Toronto goes, we’ll have to wait until the ice piles melt — haven’t seen any dirt yet.

  41. 41
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Botsplainer: The foster parent of one of the kitten cams I watch likes to let the momcat give birth on cam. The last one to do this had 3 kittens about an hour apart and on the easy side. The number 4 came, and was breach. Took a long time and the momcat was in an emense amount of pain. (Blew out the eardrums of watchers using ear phones.) Experienced watchers tell new watchers that if they are squimish, they shouldn’t watch because the cam shows the whole process including the momcat cleaning off the kitten and eating the afterbirth. But most of us find it fascinating to watch. (Then of course we watch the kittens grow and become socialized and then adopted.) But that birth process is incredible to watch.

  42. 42
    Gretchen says:

    Raven: Has your wife read Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire? It has a whole section on people’s relationship with tulips, and is very interesting. The other sections are on apples, marijuana, and potatoes, which illustrate our desires for beauty, sweetness, transcendence, and something else (full stomach?) in that order.
    Svensker: did you ever find out how to defeat the groundhogs? I’ve found a whole family living inside my garden fence as if I’d built a lunch buffet just for them.

  43. 43
    PurpleGirl says:

    @PurpleGirl: Note: I don’t believe that a female cat should have a litter just so humans can see the birth process. If a grown up thinks their children should see a birth, they should look around for another way to let their children see a birth. (Like on a kitten cam…) There are too many unspayed females and too many kittens to find homes. That’s one reason I like kitten cams.

  44. 44
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    did you ever find out how to defeat the groundhogs?

    Claymores, RPGs and automatic weapons are the preferred means of control.

  45. 45
    Steeplejack says:

    Southampton has just gone up 2-0 on Tottenham on a sunny patch of afternoon lawn in England.

    Note to Amir Khalid and MikeJ: I have familiarized myself with the table and see that Southampton is at 9 and Tottenham is at 6.

    . . . And Tottenham strikes back as I write.

  46. 46
    Ferdzy says:

    Spring? Ugh. Got another six inches of snow yesterday. Guess we’ll start our peppers and eggplants (inside!) this week, but I’m having a hard time believing in it.

  47. 47
    GregB says:


    Don’t forget C-4 in the shape of squirrels and bunnies.

  48. 48
    Pogonip says:

    Daff shoots popping up, no buds yet. Dogwoods have the new red twigs that precede buds.

    Snow Tuesday.

  49. 49
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I’m going to be installing the arbor today. It’s 5′ wide. 7 1/2′ tall, and 27″ deep. Raising it into place won’t be too much of a chore, moving it from the garage to the back yard will be a bit challenging. Pix to follow for next Sunday.

    Our garden is thriving this week. Mary G has been taking full advantage of the potting bench with the result that, after I finish with the arbor, I’ll be starting two more raised planting boxes ( 4’X2′ and 6’X2′) to be placed beside the driveway and two tables (same dimensions as the planting boxes) for seedling trays, starter pots, etc.

    The best part of all this construction is that Mary G is so happy and so much more energized. If I had the money, dog and I would buy a nice big truck and equip it so that I could travel far and wide building accessible gardens for people who need them but can’t afford them.

  50. 50
    Yelli says:

    @Marvel – Those paintings of those Cedar Waxwings are amazing! Who is the painter?

  51. 51
    J R in WV says:

    Best garden I eever had here in WV was decimated by a woodchuck over night. I find that the best tool for that is a .22 rifle administered carefully. I was able to sit in the attic on an old chair looking down through a window.

    The rifle was a tube-fed automatic, but wouldn’t feed from the tube, so it was a single-shot with very awkward loading, as you held the bolt back with one hand and put the cartridge into the chamber with the other hand.

    But it worked, not that it helped the garden that year. An air rifle would work, be quieter, but you have to get the top quality air rifle to get enough velocity to do Woodchuck in.

  52. 52
    Steeplejack says:

    Is FYWP blocking me all over or just on that one thread?

    ETA: Apparently just on that one thread. FYWP.

  53. 53
    normal liberal says:

    That is the scruffiest groundhog I’ve seen in a long time. Ours have yet to emerge this spring, but we’ve seen a few chipmunks surface, so it won’t be long before the groundhogs are sunbathing on our back deck.

    We’ve tried to get rid of them over the years. We failed.

  54. 54
    qwerty42 says:

    @raven: Mine are, but they have been here for a while. The ones growing through the ivy on campus seem to be at or past a peak. OTOH, there are lots of daffodil groups, so …

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    You should check into any nearby community gardens and see if they want/need some accessible spaces. The city or county could probably help you round up some funding to do it.

  56. 56
    Marvel says:


    The painting was done by friend & local artist, Carol Chapel.

    GINDY51: Here’s a better shot of the painting (from the artist’s website).

  57. 57

    We’ve had a fairly wild Winter here in the Willamette Valley (including an odd-for-us spell with 20 inches of accumulated snow last month), but things have settled down into a more normal pre-Spring pattern of rainy days and moderate temperatures.

    And right on schedule: our flamboyant, daffy friends.

    I’ve lived in the Willamette Valley for decades, and, like last year, the daffodils are over a MONTH late!

    And we’ve had the worst weather (cold and multiple snows shutting down the city) in YEARS.

    Used to be you could set your calendar by the fact that daffodils would be up by Valentine’s Day (ofttimes in the single snow we’d get in a winter). Not so for the last couple years. A month late. All the flowering plants are off schedule, and the insects are just as confused.

    If someone is going to comment on the climate or the weather, they ought to WATCH some first. Jeebus.

  58. 58
    Cliff in NH says:

    the garden is a tiny bit buried at the moment:
    Doggies playing on the garden (ha) in the snow

    those are 5 ft garden stakes btw..

  59. 59
    Marvel says:

    @Hart Williams:
    I sent the photo and comment re my daffodils to Anne Laurie on March 8th.

  60. 60
    JustRuss says:

    I’m in the WV too, and loving the daffodils. Sadly, that 20 inches of snow did a number on my yard, we had torn it up and replanted two years ago, some of the plants weren’t well enough established. And then there were the pots….

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