Friday, March 22, 2024

Trail of Flowers - First Daffodils 2024


First daffodils at Marble Farm
The first daffodils in bloom at Marble Farm Historic Site, appeared March 19, 2024. Looking back to previous years, starting with 2019 (first planting having been fall of 2018), first bloomings have ranged from March 21 to as late as April 10. Timing much depends on how long winter snow cover persisted and extent of warm spells.

The plantings at the Marble Farm site - more added each year - are of early- mid- and late-blooming varieties so as to prolong as much as possible the spring blooming season. Daffodils will still be in bloom well into May. In the fall of 2023 a planting of tulip bulbs was made inside the fence that surrounds the stone foundation that is all that remains of the Marble family home (built 1705, burned 1924). The site was selected to prevent deer from eating the tulips. (Deer don't eat daffodils.)  

To be installed once the 
tulips are blooming
The spring of 2023 had a remarkably poor showing of blooming for several perennial plant species. This was attributed to there having been an extended warm interval in March, causing 'bud break', i.e., initiation of bud opening, followed by a period of hard freeze night temperatures. Throughout eastern Massachusetts there were poor-to-no bloomings for forsythia, azalea, wisteria and other spring-blooming plants. March 2024 has been unseasonably warm and without snow cover, but did experience a night temperature of 20 degrees the night of March 21, followed by snow, freezing rain and rain March 22-23, so the effects of this harsh weather on the daffodils and other plants remains to be seen.

FIRST UPDATE: Late March and early April saw more snow, freezing rain and rain. Daffodils already blooming were knocked down, but most recovered after everything thawed/melted. The Trail of Flowers daffodil plantings in Acton and Maynard are planned to have a mix of  early- mid- and late-blooming varieties in order to stretch the blooming season into May. Unlike last year, forsythia are having a good bloom year. Max blooming appears to be week of April 14-20. 

Interestingly (and sadly), although forsythia is a popular early spring blooming plant, it is not pollinator friendly, as it has minimal nectar and pollen. Likewise, daffodils and tulips - popular spring-blooming bulbs - contribute nothing to pollinators, and thus can be derogatorily be referred to as 'eye candy'. Trail of Flowers ( has had donating town garden clubs request that future plantings include more of a mix of pollinator-friendly plants, with a preference for those native to New England versus overseas imports.   The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has developed this list of native plant species commonly available at local nurseries:

More to be added as Spring progresses


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