I spent my second day at Blue Ridge Napping Institute searching the surrounding forest for wild daffodils, and then digging them up and transplanting them around the base of fruit trees in Tom’s small orchard.
(Blue Ridge Napping Institute is Tom’s North Carolina homestead and an artist retreat; work-trade volunteers such as myself help him maintain the property in exchange for room, board, and hands-on learning).
Though familiar with the concept of companion planting, I was unaware that daffodils are excellent companions to fruit trees because they are poisonous and therefore repellent to many mammals and insects that tend to cause problems in orchards. –Encircling a tree in a ring of daffodils provides a protective barrier against pests, and as an added bonus, the daffodils will also attract beneficial insects and pollinators while suppressing the growth of grass.
Making them even more appealing is the fact that, once planted, daffodils require no maintenance and will continue to bloom year-after-year all on their own. And–although high doses can cause headaches and vomiting–in small, carefully controlled amounts, the flower’s essential oil helps to calm nerves and relieve stress in humans.
Not only are daffodils extremely useful, they are also quite elegant and beautiful. –If you can’t find any growing wild nearby, bulbs can be purchased at local nurseries or even ordered online….. Happy Gardening 🙂