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Narcissus/Daffodils - Wedding Flowers Wednesday

I wanted to begin this edition of Wedding Flowers Wednesday with a note on why I feel that providing flowers directly from my farm to local wedding venues is so special and important. Flowers like today’s feature flower, the daffodil, are only in season for a brief moment in time each year. They capture the beautiful, fleeting and unique moment in time when those flowers bloomed. They are both ephemeral and ever repeating and returning each year. I birthed my son during daffodil season and these flowers will always speak to me of that special moment in time when I became a mother. I can’t think of a better way to mark your most special and joyous wedding day than with flowers local to the place and time of your ceremony. The Connecticut landscape has so much beauty to offer, from mountains and vistas, to fields and forests, to beaches and coasts. Our Connecticut-grown flowers will look right at home in your beautiful wedding venue. Sentimental reasons aside, locally grown flowers are fresher, have fewer bumps and bruises from shipping, and last longer. I also grow my flowers without synthetic pesticides and herbicides, using sustainable, no-till farming methods to preserve our cherished mother earth.

Color and Appearance

There are so many lovely narcissus varieties that I grow on the farm. Colors include white, yellow, cream and salmon. Forms include fluffy double pedaled varieties like obdam, simple singles such as ice follies, and multiple bloom stems like geranium. Thalia is one of my personal favorite varieties because its many delicate white blooms remind me of orchids.

Above, obdam narcissus are in bloom at Sterling Organic Farm.

What’s so special about it?

In addition to their beautiful appearance, narcissus have several other wonderful qualities. They have a beautiful fragrance, and are in bloom for our very earliest wedding dates. The fragrance of narcissus is hard to describe. The adjectives sweet, floral and rich come to mind. They are one of the few scented flowers that I grow. I mainly grow unscented flowers because people have allergies or get tired of smelling flowers all day while carrying or wearing them at their wedding. But if you love floral fragrances and are having a spring wedding, narcissus may be the perfect flower for you. The smell of narcissus really makes me feel that winter is over and spring has sprung, especially when it drifts in on a gentle, warm spring breeze. Narcissus are the first flowers that I harvest from the fields of my farm in the spring, and they pair perfectly with my spring greenhouse grown silver drop eucalyptus and ranunculus.

A bridal bouquet made with eucalyptus, narcissus and ranunculus. This bouquet was made entirely from flowers grown at Sterling Organic Farm in early May. Narcissus varieties include obdam (top), thalia (right), geranium (center) and unknown (left). If anyone can identify the unknown daffodil variety, I would greatly appreciate it. It came as a mislabeled bulb.

Seasonal availability

Seasonal availability varies somewhat from year to year. When late winter and early spring are unusually cold, the narcissus bloom the first 3 weeks of May. In an unusually warm season, they will bloom the last three weeks of April. Late April through early May are the best time to plan on having narcissus in your wedding flowers, as they can reliably be expected to bloom during this time frame in most years. Different varieties of narcissus bloom at different times of the spring. I have a mix of early, mid-season and late blooming narcissus to help narcissus season last longer. I also have a field that’s in full sun, and one that’s in part shade, and the part shade field tends to bloom a week or two later than the full sun field.

A bountiful harvest of early blooming tulip varieties and late blooming narcissus varieties at Sterling Organic Farm.

A simple rustic mason jar wedding centerpiece made with silver drop eucalyptus and obdam narcissus.

How to grow Narcissus in Connecticut

Narcissus are easy to grow in Connecticut. They return year after year and will multiply when they’re in an ideal site. Their preference is a sunny spot with well drained soil. Plant narcissus bulbs in the fall, in October and/or November. If you don’t get your narcissus blooms planted by the end of November, you can still plant them during an especially warm and sunny day in December or January when the ground is thawed out. Plant your narcissus bulbs in a hole or trench that’s 9 inches deep. Planting too shallow will subject them to many cycles of the ground freezing and thawing, which can push the bulbs up to the surface. In late February through early March, start checking for the appearance of the daffodil leaves, which look like smooth green spikes coming up out of the ground. Blooms will follow in about two months. After the blooms fade, the green leaves will persist for a month or two, capturing energy from the sun and sending it down into the bulb to store the energy for next year’s blooms. Be sure not to cut the leaves back until they have shriveled up and turned yellow. Fortunately, narcissus in Connecticut are not subject to any pests or diseases. They are not bothered by squirrels or deer. The only issue is occasionally double pestled varieties will suffer from bud blast, a condition in which the buds form but never open. Bud blast tends to happen when temperatures warm up rapidly while the plants are budding. I hope these tips will help you grow narcissus in Connecticut, and I hope you will consider these beautiful flowers if you’re having a spring wedding.

Narcissus leaves emerge from the ground in late winter and early spring in Connecticut. Woodchips help to suppress weeds and regulate moisture in the soil.

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