Daffodils Return to the Mountains

Those bright little trumpets that herald the onset of spring will be the focus of a national show that’s returning to the Carolinas for the first time since 1964. The National Daffodil Show, to be held Thursday, March 27, 3 – 6 p.m., and Friday, March 28, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the Holiday Inn-SunSpree Resort, will include competitions for daffodil growers and photographers, both amateur and professional, and of all ages. The show, open without charge to the public, will be held in conjunction with the annual convention of the American Daffodil Society.

Why has it taken the Show nearly 40 years to come back to a land where the nodding blooms seem to carpet every garden?

“It’s such a big country [with] so many growing conditions,” explains local show coordinator Delia Bankhead. “Daffodils bloom in Texas in February, and in Boston in May.”

And yellow and white are by no means the only colors growers can coax from this Mediterranean native, a hardy perennial which — unlike the tulip and crocus bulbs so beloved of rodents — no mammal will eat.

“The daffodils in your yard are nothing like what will be seen at the show,” points out Bankhead. Exhibitors from across the U.S. and some from the United Kingdom will show off the latest new cultivars and unusual new seedlings, in a remarkable variety of color combinations that include pink, orange and red. Their sizes range from huge trumpets to tiny miniatures no larger than a nickel, and their forms include doubles, and daffodils with several flowers on a stem — a far cry, in short, from the garden-store standards, which Bankhead says are “old varieties imported into this country by the ton by the Dutch.”

If you would like to enter your own daffodils in the show (which you can do from 4 p.m. Wednesday through 9 a.m. Thursday), keep in mind that they must be correctly named, and must have been grown in the open by the exhibitor. For more information and for a copy of the show schedule with rules for entering daffodils and the photography competition, contact Delia Bankhead, 118 Chickadee Circle, Hendersonville, NC 28792, or by e-mail at deliab@ioa.com.

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