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Daffodils are cheery

Daffodils are cheery, yellow, early—but not sniff-worthy. Right? Wrong. Meet ‘Thalia’, one of many daffodil cultivars known for having a lovely fragrance. In addition to being perfumed, ‘Thalia’ runs counter to the daffodil stereotype by being not yellow but pure white. The small, bell-shaped flowers, with slightly reflexed petals, bloom March to May, depending on climate. Each short stem carries one to three gracefully nodding blossoms. This elegant beauty will slowly naturalize in the right spot, and it is usually ignored by both squirrels and deer.

Common name: ‘Thalia’ daffodil, triandrus daffodil

Triandrus Daffodil

Triandrus Daffodil

Botanical name: Narcissus ‘Thalia’
Plant type: Bulb
Zones: 3 to 8
Height: 12 to 18 inches
Family: Amaryllidaceae

Growing conditions

  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil: Average, well-drained
  • Moisture: Average

Care

  • Mulch: Mulch to retain moisture in the soil.
  • Pruning: None needed.
  • Fertiliser: None needed. If your soil is poor, add organic fertiliser or compost in the fall.

Propagation

  • By bulb division

Pests and diseases

  • Not vulnerable to most pests.
  • If drainage is poor, bulbs may rot.

Garden notes

Triandrus Daffodil

Triandrus Daffodil

  • Grow ‘Thalia’ near a path or patio, where you can enjoy its perfume.
  • ‘Thalia’ does well in rock gardens and at the front of the border.
  • You can also plant ‘Thalia’ under deciduous trees. It will flower in the spring, before the tree’s leaves fill out. If you’ve got grass under your tree, just plant through it. But be prepared to hold off on the season’s first mowing until the foliage dies back. That way, the leaves have a chance to gather energy for the next year’s growth before they’re cut down.
  • Plant bulbs in the fall, 3 to 5 inches deep.
  • ‘Thalia’ is a good cut flower and a good bulb for forcing.
  • Plant ‘Thalia’ with grape muscari for a lovely colour combination. Or combine it with other spring bulbs.

All in the family

Narcissus

Narcissus

  • From about 50 species in the genus Narcissus (originally from Europe and North Africa) have come hundreds of daffodil cultivars. They’re divided into 13 groups, based primarily on the shape of their blooms. ‘Thalia’ is a triandrus daffodil, meaning it has two to six nodding flowers on each stem.
  • Other familiar garden flowers in the amaryllis family include rain lilies, belladonna lilies, spider lilies, and, of course, amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrids).

Cultivars

Other fragrant daffodil cultivars include:

  • ‘Actaea’—red-rimmed cup and large, rounded, white petals
  • ‘Baby Moon’—a golden-yellow miniature
  • ‘Cheerfulness’—a double daffodil with yellow centers and white petals
  • ‘Geranium’—orange cups, white petals
  • ‘Hawera’—pale yellow with swept-back petals
  • ‘Yellow Cheerfulness’—double, all-yellow
  • ‘Silver Chimes’—cream-white flowers
  • ‘Trevithian’—deep yellow
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Spring jobs in the garden

Here are a few well-timed tasks that will pay off with a great beginning to your springtime gardening.

Prepare tools

Mower

Mower

Tune up the lawn mower and sharpen the blades. Wipe the wooden handles of garden tools with linseed oil and sharpen tools’ edges. Replace weak or broken handles or purchase new ones. Take an inventory of your tools, and make a list of new tools you’d like to buy and old ones you need to replace.

Cut perennials

Cut Perennials

Cut Perennials

Cut perennial foliage to the ground, with a few exceptions: Don’t prune salvia, Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), creeping verbena (Verbena canadensis), or artemesia until they start showing growth on last year’s stems. Then prune just above the emerging foliage.

Wait until sprigs of green growth appear on ornamental grasses, then cut back to the new growth. Prune butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii) just as they begin to show new growth or when the last average frost date for your area has passed. If evergreen foliage of perennials such as Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis) is tattered from winter’s wear, remove blemished foliage to the ground; fresh, new foliage will quickly return. Trim the evergreen foliage of sedge (Carex spp.), liriope, and evergreen ferns.

Prune shrubs and trees

Prune shrubs and trees

Prune shrubs and trees

First, remove dead branches from woody plants. Then remove any cross-over branches that compete for sunlight. Selectively prune to open up the canopy of trees and remove older, less vigorous wood. If in doubt about removing a limb, be conservative—you can’t glue branches back on! Over the next few days, observe the shrub or tree. After a week, decide whether it looks fine or whether you need to prune other branches. The goal is to allow the plant to take its natural form with discreet pruning.

After several years, very little pruning is necessary. These shrubs and trees will be on their way to becoming beautiful specimens. However, if a shrub or tree has been neglected for several years, it may take three or four years to return it to a healthy, aesthetically pleasing form.

One exception for late-winter pruning is spring-blooming shrubs such as spirea, forsythia, and weigela—don’t prune anything except dead branches until these plants finish blooming. (It’s OK to prune summer-blooming shrubs such as crepe myrtle, vitex, and caryopteris now.)

Apply organic controls

Mealybugs

Mealybugs

Late winter (once temperatures stay above freezing) is the best time to apply horticultural oil sprays. These oils are a safe and effective way to control insects, allowing prudent gardeners to get a jump on possible infestations. When applied according to instructions, oils reduce populations of insect pests such as bagworms, mites, aphids, and mealybugs. If you had problems with these insects last year, it’s likely they will return again.

Analyse the garden

Spend 15 minutes once or twice a week walking around your garden looking for insect pests and diseases. They require less aggressive treatment when spotted early. Carry a plastic grocery bag so you can collect damaged leaves and fruits. To be sure you get an accurate assessment, get down to the plant’s level. Most diseases start on lower leaves and work their way up. Insects, which tend to prefer young, tender foliage, often hide on the undersides of leaves. Because insects and diseases are more common when you have rotten vegetables and fruits lying on the ground and hanging on the plants, dispose of these on your weekly walk.

Test soil

Soil Testing

Soil Testing

If plants in one area did not perform well, take soil samples and send them to your local cooperative extension agent or move the plant to a better location.

Update garden records

Make a resolution to keep a garden journal this year. in 2005. The journal helps you plan outdoor garden events—you can look back to see what bloomed in the past on that date, or remember plants that provided timely foliage color. Just as important, it’s a poignant reminder of past events in the garden, good and bad.

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