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Lawn and Garden

March Flower: The Daffodil

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03/01/2011 - Did you know that every month has a flower, just as every month has a birthstone? March's flower is the daffodil. Before I started writing this article I hadn't ever given the daffodil very much thought. To me it was of little interest, a common yellow flower which showed up each year in stores around Easter, and then reappeared again around Mother's Day outside in gardens around Casper.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that the daffodil isn't beautiful, just that it is common, and it had not perked my interest before now. It is kind of like the prairie around Casper. If you have lived here long, it all seems pretty much the same as you pass by it flying down the highway. But if you stop in any given spot along that highway, and take the time to look around, it is likely you will find many things that are interesting before you even step off the pavement.

That is how it is for me when it comes to flowers. I am surrounded be them for most months of the year, but usually I only think of how they are growing, if they are going to do the job that I need them to do, and will they do it on time. I think of my flowers a lot like a rancher thinks of his cows. You haven't ever seen a rancher giving each cow a good petting before he loads them into the trailer for shipping have you?

Well, today I decided to stop and find out more about the daffodil. Although the most common daffodils are yellow or white, it was very interesting to find out that they also can have bright red or orange centers in their flowers. Finding this out just about doubled my interest in daffodils. I am a real sucker for red flowered plants. They can also be pink or lime green as well. The pink is usually a pretty blush pink, and the green daffodils look a lot like orchids because of their color.

Daffodils are contained in the genus Narcissus, along with paper whites and many other bulb flowers common in our area. There are numerous different types of daffodils, some with a single flower per stem and some with many flowers on each stem. They normally bloom in the early to mid spring around Casper, and their bloom time is relatively short lived. Blooming in the early to mid spring is the daffodil's Achilles heel in the Casper area. As you all well know our weather in late April and early may is pretty unpredictable. We can go two weeks without going below freezing, and then wake up one morning to five inches of snow on the ground.

Daffodils are not slouches. When it comes to cold weather, they can survive. But, when having snowfall in the late spring is more common than not, it makes people shy away from planting large patches of any spring bulb. Many people think it is not really worth planting them if the unruly Wyoming weather is going to lay them flat just as they are getting ready to bloom. By "lay them flat", I mean just that, someone who was new to town might think that we all plant a special type of spring bulb, because they all seem to grow sideways rather than up. Although having your Daffodils and other bulbs stand up straight around our town might be a fifty-fifty proposition each year, they are worth planting.

There are few flowers that have a more elegantly shaped flower, and more beautiful, pure colors than the daffodil. Like the Greek myth their Genus is named for, daffodils and other Narcissus remind us that beauty is often short lived, but for the time we are in its presence it makes our lives much richer. This makes the daffodil the perfect flower for March in Wyoming. Spring days in March are beautiful, but more often than not their time is short, and we know that at any moment winter will come and visit us again.

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