Photography: John Dolan1 of 7
By creating a planting “map” in advance, which I transferred onto the ground with granular lime, I was able to visualize what the springtime blossoming would look like -- and get 3,000 bulbs into the ground in a single day.
Photography: John Dolan2 of 7
Draw the Plan
Using my bulb catalog as a guide, I make a planting scheme that arranges each daffodil variety in groups, or “drifts,” of colors, heights, and blooming times.
Photography: John Dolan3 of 7
Prepare the Bed and Map It Out
For larger plantings, use a no-dig method. Look for a natural depression or hollow on your property where you can place the bulbs eight inches below ground level. Or, in smaller flower beds, remove the top layer of soil to the proper planting depth. Scatter bulb fertilizer or amendments such as bone meal over the area and work in. Mark the plan directly on the soil surface with lime.
Photography: John Dolan4 of 7
Position the Bulbs
Place each bulb root side down, and space them four to six inches apart in a grid.
Photography: John Dolan5 of 7
Cover Them Up
Fill in with topsoil and compost, raking until the surface is flat (avoid stepping on the surface).
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Photography: John Dolan6 of 7
On the Grid
All the daffodil bulbs, above, have now been positioned and await the blanket of soil and compost that will protect them over the long winter. Gardening is an exercise in patience.
Photography: John Dolan7 of 7
My new daffodil bed bursts into bloom from April through May with waves of yellow, white, orange, and even peach-colored blossoms. Notice how the flowers (shown here at dawn) generally grow to face the prevailing afternoon sun. I chose my varieties carefully to obtain the longest period of bloom and the most interesting mix of sizes, textures, and color combinations.