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Saturday, April 15, 2017



Saturday, 8:45 AM.  45 degrees F at the ferry dock, 49 on the back porch.  Wind variable and calm.  The sky is cloudy and overcast, the humidity 88%.  The barometer is  at 30.80", the forecast calling for highs in the 40's and 50's until it rains Tuesday, then coooling off to the 30's and 40's with possible snow on Thursday.  It is a quiet, gray morning.
   The first standard daffodils bloomed yesterday on the south side of the house, and others around Bayfield will soon follow.  Blooming dates can vary somewhat with the spring weather; here's some history of first bloom: 4/26/16. 4/23/15. 4/16/14,  5/3/13, 4/14/11. 4/15/10.  In a warm spring they might last two weeks, in a cool spring a month or longer.
   Nothing says "spring" like the yellow trumpets of daffodils.  I am not particular as to species or variety, as long as they are yellow daffodils.  I think those pictured are "King Alfred," an old and usually inexpensive favorite.  miniature daffodils are also blooming.
   Daffodils were grown in ancient Greece and Rome and have been a commercial plant for centuries and longer.  There are many species, mostly native to southern Europe and North Africa, their epicenter being the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal).  They grow in meadows and woods and along streams in their native habitats, and prefer a slightly acid soil, adequate moisture and good drainage. Primary colors are yellow and white, with some species and varieties also having orange or pink floral parts.  The species of the genus Narcisus, in the Amaryllis family, hybridize readily, and I cannot go into much description of varieties as I am not a real fancier.  I just like the typical form, and if they happen to be fragrant, so much the better.  Having been grown commercially for hundreds of years, there are endless varieties available.
   Bayfield has planted thirty or more thousand yellow daffodils throughout the community through the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce.  It is worth a trip to see them in full bloom.  Daffodils naturalize in lawn grass pretty well, but a few rules have to be followed to enjoy then over the years: don't mow the lawns they grow in until the daffodil leaves die back; and, fertilize the lawn they grow in with a complete low nitrogen fertilizer, or bonemeal if you can get it, in the fall.  Daffodils probably grow best in a garden area where they can be dug up and divided every four or five years, but there is nothing to compare with the massed blooms of naturalized daffodils.

 by William Wordsworth, 1815

I wandered, lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

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