This week we visit beautiful Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville, Georgia. We'll look at some beautiful Heirloom Daffodils and flowering shrubs. Robert Stoney is the horticulturists at Barnsley Gardens and our tour guide in this show. Barnsley Gardens is a historic garden and no historic garden should be without Daffodils. At Barnsley they have both historic and modern cultivars. There are about 20-30 really old fashion, genuine Heirloom Daffodils, but in total over a hundred of the various types.
With so many different types it can become confusing. A good place to start is with a botany lesson that discusses the different parts. With this information we should be able to enjoy them a little more. Daffodils come in every size and shape. King Alfred is a good place to start, it fits everyone's idea of a Daffodil. Daffodils are divided into divisions based upon their parts. The middle part, a tube or trumpet, is technically called corona, which means crown. The petals are called perianth segments. The relationship between the two distinguishes the type or division. There are about 15 different divisions. Mt. Hood is all white, the trumpet is much longer than the perianth segments. It is a mid season Daffodil, it opens slightly yellow and fades to white. It is an example of the definitive Daffodil in shape.
"Sweetness," an heirloom variety, is commonly known as a large cup. The corona is about one third longer in length than the perianth. It has a strong scent of vanilla and was bred in 1939. "Scarlett O'Hara is also a large cup. It has bright orange, even scarlet tingeing on the edge. If you look closely you'll notice a trace of white on the tip of the petals. "Geranium" is a small cup. Normally it has many heads. but importantly for classification, the cup is less than one third the length of the perianth segments. "Winston Churchill" is a double form. It looks less like a Daffodil, almost like a Camellia. It is double because the petals, the perianth segments are doubled and the corona is reduced to almost nothing. "Orange Phoenix" is another double Daffodil. This is sometimes referred to as "Bacon and Eggs." It is orange, white and yellow, resembling eggs. It's an old variety, dating back to the 1700's and was one of the first daffodils ever bred. Triandus is another division. Triandrus means three flowered. "Thalia" is one, it has swept back petals and three flowers on each stem. It was bred in the early part of the 20th century. On the other end of the spectrum is the "Hoop-Petticoat" or Bulboodium. It has a great, exaggerated trumpet and the perianth segments are reduced to tiny spurs. Unusual but a real delight.
If you're looking for something to partner with Daffodils, something that is going to look good but not compete with them think about Snowflakes, scientific name Leucojum. They like dappled shade, even a little sun. They like a cool slope. Benign neglect is ideal, leave them alone. Let them stay up until at least the end of May before you mow them down. This is the same with Daffodils. This plant will do well at the edge of a pond, they don't mind having their feet wet and in water for part of the year.
Pansies are a star in southern winter gardens. They provide color from fall to early spring. When Pansies start to lose their bloom and start to fade when the temperatures rise, pinch them back. Remove about half the foliage, it will keep them stocky and full and blooming when it warms.
Dr. Rick offers some advice for the care of your Daffodils. When the flower starts to fade, remove the bloom. At that point the plant will try to produce a seed and that requires a tremendous amount of energy and that detracts from its ability to spread. Daffodils are a low maintenance plant, they don't require much care. Don't add organic matter to the plant, it over nitrogenates the plant. They don't like wet feet so raise the bed if you have heavy, soggy soil. They don't like too much nitrogen, the first number on the fertilizer bag. It will encourage green growth but few flowers. They do like phosphorous, the middle number, so use something like bone meal. This provides very slow, long lasting supply of phosphorus which encourages root growth and flower growth. Plant Daffodil bulbs, and all bulbs that come back year after year, in the fall. Fall is good because soil temperatures stay a little warmer than the air temperatures. Wait until air temperatures are in the 40's and 50's, then 4-6 weeks later plant the bulbs. In zone 7 that is typically around Thanksgiving. Where should Daffodils be planted? Daffodils like full sun to partial shade, they typically face the sun. They need well drained soil or their roots tend to rot over the winter.
When should you move or divide daffodils? A good rule of thumb is to leave them alone, they don't like to be disturbed for the first couple of years. If you start to see smaller flowers or fewer flowers you might want to divide them. The best time to divide them is after the foliage starts to fade. When you can't see the above ground parts of the plant get a shovel and dig up an entire clump. Remove only the parts that easily break apart from the group. Don't forcefully break them because damage can be done to the mother plant. Once done get them back in the ground, they don't do well when exposed to the air.
Tulips are a luxury in the garden. This variety "Ollioules" is a French variety. They are great for spring color. Robert puts them in, lets them grow, flower once, then lifts them. In some parts of the country they come back like a Daffodil. They frequently are attacked by rodents that eat the bulb. They are difficult to fatten up, the tulip needs to be force fed. Summer heat is another problem in the south and it is not cold enough in winter to provide the dormancy needed. If healthy, they only need watered, don't need fertilized. Just pull them up when done flowering and plant another annual with color.
Flowering Quince, Chaenomeles Speciosa" is not for everyone. It is beautiful for a week or so but after that it's mundane. It's an heirloom and when in bloom has 3 extraordinary colors, white, pink and deep scarlet. All on the same shrub, not a graft. This is "Chimera" and looses its leaves at the end of summer and can look ordinary. Robert has a vining plant, Cypress vine, growing in the tree to add interest at the end of the summer when the tree looses its leaves. It is a miniature flowered Morning Glory. The quince tree produces an apple like fruit, that is full of pectin.
Putting plants together in a container or garden is always a challenge. Think about color intensity. Intensity refers to the clarity or pureness of color. The yellow and purple Petunia have intensity, while the red does not. Intense colors go well together.One way to create visual punches in your garden is to concentrate all plants that bloom at the same time in the same part of your garden. Robert has done that at Barnsley Gardens. Bridal wreath spirea is a member of the rose family. They love full sun and grow to between 4-6 feet tall. They have nice arching branches and are a nice compliment to round, shrubs. The plant next to it is another flowering Quince, Chaenomeles. It has heavy thorns, is very thick and works well as a barrier.
Prunus x Yedoensis, the Yoshino Cherry is a profusion of blossoms in the spring. It looks like snow as the blooms fall. And the blossoms only last about a week. It is a wonderful form for nectar and pollen early in the year. It's a great plant for the south, it's life span is about 25 years, but it's magnificent.The Eastern Red Bud, Cercis Canadensis, is visible in the spring because of its' pink buds. The reason you can see the flowers, really buds, is because the leaves haven't yet come out. The buds don't open. One version is called Flame. It's an understory plant, it thrives in the soil in Georgia and is native up the east coast. These plants if under stress the summer before seem to flower better the next year because they may be desperately trying to reproduce before they die. Forest Pansie is another variety, its leaves are copper or bronze and stay that way through summer. Their leaves tend to be coarse and textured and far apart. There is another variety called Mexican Redbud, it has a leaf with a wavy, crinkly edge which is very decorative. These trees have a lifespan of 15-20 years, but they grow quickly and are easy to replace.
Lilac is unusual in the south. Some call it a tree, some a shrub, but it is flamboyant. This plant is "Swathmore," Syringa x Hyacinthiflora. It is bred to withstand the hot summers and mild winters. Pocahontas is also excellent for tolerating heat. They bloom on last years wood, so don't prune them in winter because you'll be cutting off the flowers. Pruning is necessary only to shape the tree. Cut out any dead wood. Bugs aren't a problem. They like calcium and lime in the soil, they don't do well in acidic soil. Bone meal has lime and phosphorous so it is a good way to feed these trees. They are beautiful and have a wonderful fragrance.
Back to Top