Vicky Eicher, Virginia

Orphaned or Unwanted Daffodil Bulbs?

May 29, 2009

Categories: Bulb Information, Growing Daffodils, Societies and groups

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Here in Central Virginia, we’re in the middle of the ‘dig and divide’ season.  My ‘digs’ include mislabeled bulbs, unnamed bulbs, children of prolific bulbs, and parts and pieces of bulbs hit by my digging tools.  And I’m assuming you have a similar harvest.  What do you do with any that will not make it to your club’s bulb exchange table?
Above all, do NOT throw them out!  Even the bits and pieces have use.  Here are my thoughts, and I’m sure you can add to them.
Whole Bulbs:
1.  Use them to say ‘thank you.’  Each year I enter a race to raise funds for breast cancer research and patient care.  Friends and neighbors who sponsor me receive my surplus bulbs as part of my ‘thank you’ for their support.  Many have seen the flowers growing in our front yard and know they are receiving special bulbs.  This year one regular sponsor even identified some bulbs he’d like to receive!  It’s a great way to say thank you and spread yellow fever.
2.  Donate them to your local Hospice.  One of my big sponsors shared her bulbs with our local Hospice House.  Their gardner planted them in the facility’s front yard for residents’ families and friends to enjoy.  The manager of this facility then asked me if I could share surplus bulbs with residents’ families as a living memento of their loved one.
3.  Donate them to a youth group.  This year the Virginia Daffodil Society’s annual show included lovely Easter Baskets made by local Girl Scouts who used flowers donated by members.  The girls had a wonderful time making the baskets, and everyone enjoyed seeing the results.  As a follow-up, participants and/or their Troops might appreciate receiving surplus bulbs so they could grow their own flowers.
4.  Donate them to a church, school, or any other public facility that needs a low maintenance floral display in Spring.
5.  Include them in a yard sale, whether in your yard or in a fund-raising yard sale for an organization you support.
6.  Give them as part of a condolence note to the family of someone who’s passed.
7.  Give them to newlyweds, or friends who have just moved into a new home, or anyone else who is celebrating a milestone, has some land, and would appreciate flowers in the Spring.
The recipients of these bulbs have no interest in names, divisions, etc.  They enjoy the flowers for their beauty, so they are perfect recipients for misnamed, unnamed, orphaned, or otherwise unwanted bulbs.  They should receive some good bulbs.  My race sponsors receive a mixture of both large and immature bulbs, with the warning that all may not bloom the first year.  And my sponsors love them.
Bits & Pieces:
Do you have a deer problem?  This year we had tulips for the first time in years.  How?  We liberally sprinkled the beds with chopped up daffodil bulbs!  The pieces came from bulbs that had been inadvertently destroyed during the ‘dig and divide’ season, and soft bulbs that proved to be bulb-fly-free.  The deer’s summer target is hosta and daylilies, so it will be interesting to see if they also avoid them this year.  I don’t know how long this will work, but we had a beautiful display this year.
I used my Joyce Chen scissors to cut these bulbs into small pieces.  These scissors are used exclusively for garden work.
Can you add to my list?
Vicky Eicher
ADS Member

4 responses to “Orphaned or Unwanted Daffodil Bulbs?”

  1. Linda Wallpe says:

    Give them to nursing homes.  They usually have a lawn care service that will plant them.
    And if you have nice flowers left over at the end of a daffodil show, take them to nursing homes
    Or take them to a Veterans Administration facility.  Ask members to save plastic water bottles, they make great, lightweight vases.
    They are appreciated.

  2. Christine Durrill says:

    I agree – shortly before my grandmother died at 91, I took a huge bouquet to her nursing home – and the happiness generated  just by walking it through the common area (took me half an hour because everybody there had to see, touch and smell them) was well worth the effort of driving twenty miles to deliver it!

    Chris Durrill

  3. Loyce McKenzie, Mississippi Loyce McKenzie says:


  4. Linda Wallpe says:


    While breaking down our show one year, our group made small bouquets in small glass and plastic bottles that members had been asked to bring..
    I took the vases over to the Veterans Hospital, which just happens to be around the corner from our venue. 
    As I was carrying the bouquets in, Veterans actually asked if they could have a vase .  I gave them away freely. 
    The mental picture of pajamed veterans rolling down a hall in wheelchairs, carrying a vase of daffodils, is an image that stays with me to this day. 
    I should add that I had called the week ahead so the hospital knew they were coming and I was told the administration appreciated that.  Two friends who work there, remarked that for the next week they saw daffodils everywhere around the facility and many conversations went on with the patients regarding the various colors.  It was a real hit.


    Or take them to a Veterans Administration facility.  Ask members to save plastic water bottles, they make great, lightweight vases.
    Good idea!  We’ve always wanted to give leftover flowers after the show to retirement homes, but we have to realize they don’t have endless supplies of vases, so we need to come prepared with water bottles or milk jugs–cut off the tops if you need to put more blooms in than the skinny opening will accommodate.