Water restrictions are a challenge to the gardener
in Canberra. However, they represent a positive for the daffodil
Put simply the greatest problem for daffodils in Canberra
is the watering of gardens in summer. The heat of summer in
Canberra is sufficient to create problems with rot but these
problems are magnified if the soil is wet.
Let me explain.In the last bulletin I highlighted
the need for water through winter and spring in order to get
high quality flowers. There is no doubt that water over this
period is important. The trouble is for most daffodils in
Canberra over summer water will kill them! The combination
of warm soil and moisture results in rot.
This can be managed.
• keeping the soil around the bulb cool,•
restricting moisture in the soil as it gets warm, and
• growing varieties that can cope with our climate
Keeping the soil cool
There are three options here:• mulching,
• planting the bulbs deep enough, and
Putting a layer of mulch, say 5 cm deep, over
the soil early in the summer can help a lot. Equally, planting
the bulbs in holes at least 6 inches (15 cm deep) means the
soil around the bulbs does not get too hot. Also, shade from
western sun in summer can help reduce the soil temperature.
Try all three for best results.
It is impossible to over estimate the benefits of keeping
the soil from being too wet when it is warm. Looking around
Canberra in spring it is clear that you see good daffodils
in places where the water in summer does not get to. Water
restrictions mean that we will not get the ground as wet!
Growing varieties that
can cope with our climate
While most of the varieties sold in nurseries and other retail
outlets are the traditional large flowered “King Alfred”
type not many of these survive and prosper in Canberra gardens.
If you have a garden that you water though summer and want
to grow daffodils there are varieties that will cope much
better. Tazettas and Jonquilla types will perform well in
such an environment. Equally, cyclaminius hybrids will give
a great display year after year in the garden.
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