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Featured Plant: Daffodils

It's that time. Can we all agree? Life is bashing most of us about like never before. Time to sing the praises of the incomparable daffodil. It's one of the first bits of color to arrive in early spring when we need it most, and what a rich and uplifting color it is. Who can resist a smile when suddenly coming upon a clarion of yellow trumpets emerging triumphantly from the dry grass of winter?

Perennials with bell-shaped corona, daffodils are easy to plant, require almost no maintenance and multiply rapidly. Bulbs planted in fall will bloom in late winter or early spring and can return year after year and proliferate for decades. Most commonly buttery yellow, blossoms might also be white, pink or orange, solid or with contrasting petals and crown.

A symbol of renewal, they are perhaps more welcome this spring than ever before. The name daffodil comes from the Latin or botanical "Narcissus" for the youth of Greek myth who fell hopelessly in love with his own reflection. The gods, never known for subtlety, punished the boy for his vanity by turning him into the flower. A startling transformation, to be sure, but who can complain?

Choose large, high-quality bulbs, plant in clusters and group randomly for a more natural look. Full sun or part shade, you can even place daffodils under deciduous trees, since the flowers will bloom before leaves sprout. To extend the season, select varieties that bloom at different times (early, mid- or late-season) so that new flowers open while others fade.

The humble daffodil -- point well taken....

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