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Daffodil days

05/12/03 12:00AM By Charlie Nardozzi
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Have you noticed the daffodils this spring? For some reason they just seem more magnificent to me than in any year I can remember. Maybe it was because of the consistent snow cover this winter that protected them, our cool spring that's allowed them to slowly grow to maturity, or me just being starved for some spring colors. Whatever the reason, the daffodils are shining.

Its also a poignant time for me personally. You see I'll be leaving my home in Hinesburg soon and leaving behind one of the most pleasurable gardens I've grown here: the daffodil bank. When we moved to this house 16 years ago I started planting daffodils on a northward facing bank. It was an open area that was loaded with ferns in summer, but empty of color in spring. It was just begging for some planting, especially since the bank is clearly visible from the dining room windows.

So I started planting daffodils. Of all the spring flowering bulbs, I love daffodils the best. They naturalize so easily, flower consistently every year with little care, and critters don't like them. My daffodil bank paralleled my life in this house. The first batch was planted as a way to celebrate my wedding anniversary in late April. Of course, the daffodils would rarely be in bloom by then, but the idea was too delicious to pass up.

Each year I would plant more batches of daffodils. A yellow batch of King Alfred daffodils when our daughter Elena was born 13 years ago, a mix of small flowered narcissus when my father died, some regal Mt. Hood daffys for our 10th wedding anniversary, and some elegant pink-cupped Salome daffodils last fall, even as I knew it would be my last planting here. Each year in the cold, rain, and sometimes dark of October, I would faithfully plant 50-100 daffodil bulbs. And over the years I've slowly watched the colors spread over the bank each spring.

This year the bank finally seems full. It's a mature planting of daffodils now, with waves of white, yellow, pink, and bi-colored trumpets swaying in the breeze. Maybe it's a curse of every gardener to finally get a garden to where you always wanted it only then to have life change and you move on. I do gain some solace in the thought these daffodils will endure long after I'm gone. After all they never were really just for me in the first place. They were just a way to make this small, little, hillside a little bit cheerier at the dawning of spring. The next owners will enjoy them I'm sure, but they probably will know little of how these daffodils were so entwined with my life on this land.

This is Charlie Nardozzi in Hinesburg.

Charlie Nardozzi is all-around gardening expert with a special fondness for roses and tomatoes.
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