Sent to my Texas Master Gardeners

February 15, 2018
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Categories: American Daffodil Society, Breeding, Bulb Information, Daffodil Types, Diseases and Pests, General, Growing Daffodils, Hybridizing, Publications and Resources, Seeds, Societies and groups, Soil, Species, Virus

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This was a quickie post I made to our MG group. We have about 83 active members, 12 new students going through 60 hours of training, then 50 hours of volunteer hours. Pretty incredible for me to have only picked four trumpet daffodils so far this year. Especially when our Texas Show is just two weeks away??? Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas

Daffodils/Narcissus bulbs in any region of the world are a soil temperature weather indicator. Moisture/rainfall locally in August/September will trigger root growth in many different species of “bulbs”. Once root growth begins then it will depend on the temperature of the soils where these bulbs are growing as to how this will affect leaf growth. Soil temperature and soil moisture and then warm late winter air temperature and hours of sunshine will then affect bloom times of each of the species or families of flower bulbs.

Our family has been growing “daffodils” locally now since 1964 when we brought bulbs from Ohio to Texas when we moved here.

About every 10 to 12 years we have the perfect year for an “early bloom season” a year that we will have upwards of a million stems of daffodils in bloom for “Valentines Day”. IF I had a cut flower business and I could cut and ship and actually sell a million blooms to florist shops two weeks “Before” Valentines day then I could take the rest of the year and travel. Issue is about every 10 to 12 years we have a colder than normal winter and last night just before dark I walked through all of our fields and I picked just two different blooms from two varieties of trumpet daffodils that were fully open and one that needed a little help on opening. So only 3 out of a “million” blooms are open for an average warm winter.

OK everyone always wants to know when our daffodils will be in full bloom. Answer always is “that depends” on hours of sunshine, (full sunshine rapidly warms the bare soils) Air temperature helps a little. IF you have 6 inches of organic mulches sunshine will NOT HELP nor will AIR TEMPERATURE as you have a thick thermal blanket that is maintaining cold soil temperatures! IF you have thick lawn grasses again your soils under your lawn will remain colder, weeks longer than if you have bare soils showing in say a freshly tilled garden. We are having day after day of cloudy days, minimal sunshine, soil temperatures are staying very low at the extreme bottom of a 15 year “average” for east Texas.

One of the earliest blooming season daffodils is “Fortune” a yellow trumpet first sold commercially in 1927, still one of the better old, heirloom varieties for East Texas. Issue is it blooms really early, these only last on average for about 10 days in our region once the bloom fully opens. I will have somewhere about 30,000 of these in bloom in about 10 days. Mrs. Lee’s Daffodil Garden in Gladewater Texas www.daffodilgarden.com/daffodils_home.htm will have about two million of these in bloom, probably in about 10 days if they get sunshine and some 70*F days. Issue is, they all open at the same time on a south facing slope of a hill, the ones planted on the north slopes of a hill will bloom about two weeks later, again all depending on sunshine, air and soil temperatures. All depending on how much grass, leaves or other mulches that are covering the soils.

IF you are going to drive to Mrs. Lee’s Garden you need a truck or jeep type vehicle as in spring you are going to drive on about 2&1/2 miles of farm roads/packed dirt across east Texas cattle pastures. Expect mud puddles after a spring rain, even from a few days ago! Just guessing but I am thinking the early blooming daffodils will peak in this region about March 10th? Show quality varieties, mid and later season blooming daffodils will be around the end of March and really late blooming will be into middle of April most years.

Mrs. Lee’s Garden only planted 7 different varieties of early season daffodils/narcissus bulbs, all of these were introduced from 1930’s and then back to the 1880’s so these are really old heirloom varieties or introduced prior to 1940. All of these are early season bloom times. At some point in the 1960’s maybe early 1970’s or so they added several thousand of the Ice Follies a division 2 White petaled-White large cup trumpet daffodil. Ice Follies 2 W-W was registered in 1953. All daffodil breeders for the last 120 years or so were all very meticulous about their daffodil plant breeding “hobby” link will take you back to four generations showing all of the know great-great-grandparents of Ice Follies all of the “pollen parents and all of the seed parents” daffseek.org/tools/pedigree-chart/?cultivar=Ice%20Follies &lastpage=1&which=hist3&listrow=1 Each daffodil breeder world wide kept meticulous records, all of them had “stud” books recording their breeding records. All of the records have been painstakingly recorded by The American Daffodil Society into a data base called daffseek.org/ There are about 30,000 registered daffodils worldwide. This is such an incredible data base with photos that if you want you can search on “photographers” and this will link to all of the photographs that have been uploaded by that particular person. Keith Kridler for example will pull up only about four pages of photos. Just for funzies if amateur plant breeders, volunteers can track the entire genealogy going back some 12 generations now, spanning countries from all over the world why do so few of us know where are great, great grandparents lived? There is a “story” within a “story” of every plant that makes it into commercial production.

Student interns questioned me about bringing seeds and cuttings from my various trips across the USA. Worried about pests and diseases I might be bringing into Titus County. Valentine’s day is a big day for getting flowers, then Mothers Day is second. Where do cut flowers and cut foliage for local flower shops come from??? Colombia and Ecuador accounted for roughly 90% of all roses, 98% of all carnations, and 95% of all chrysanthemums sold in the U.S. last year. Do you ever “compost” old flower arrangements?

Keith Kridler

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2 Responses to Sent to my Texas Master Gardeners

  1. Paula Karrh, Georgia
    February 15, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Keith,  What an informative letter to your MGs.  About 90 miles inland from Savannah where I live, the daffodils are very spotty.  I thought they would be beautiful with the very cold winter we have had.  I think your letter explained a lot about why we do not have many blooming yet.  There are loads of old tazettas, but with very short stems.    Thanks for posting that great letter.   

    Paula Karrh

  2. Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    February 15, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Great post, Keith.  Lots of good information.