Don’t Steal My Daffodils!

March 25, 2010 | By | Comments (16)


Daffodils 001
The Grump loves daffodils. They’re by far the best spring bulbs for the South, because they like our climate, they come back year after year, there are so many different types, and — best of all — they poison nasty squirrels who dare to eat them.

This reminds me of probably the most controversial column I ever did for my “Editor’s Notebook” column for Southern Living, before they banished it. It was all about how much I loved daffodils because squirrels couldn’t eat them — at least, squirrels with any sense, which unfortunately left out poor Rocky, who foolishly ignored the warning and ended up in that Great Flea-Ridden Nest in the Sky. Photographer Van Chaplin and I set up a fake grave in Van’s front yard (decorated,of course, with plastic flowers from Wal-Mart) and Van made a headstone that read,”RIP. Rocky. One bulb too many.”

Well, it didn’t take long for the hate mail (which was snail mail in those days) to come rolling in. People actually I was serious about using daffodils to kill squirrels. (I mean, really, have you ever bought D-Con Daffodil Killer for Rats & Squirrels?) One letter was addressed to “Steve Bender, Squirrel Nazi.” It began, “Herr Bender….”

The very fact that rodents won’t eat daffodils makes these bulbs great pass-along plants. One reason we enjoy so many heirloom types today is because people harvest clumps of them growing on abandoned fields and home sites and give them new homes. You just need to make sure you have permission first — and no, you can’t come to my house.

The daffodils shown are ‘Thalia,’ a Triandrus hybrid that’s one of my favorites. It’s very dependable. Each bulb bears multiple, pure white, very fragrant flowers. Remember this name when September rolls around and it’s time to plant daffodils again. You can buy the bulbs at garden centers or order them from these very good suppliers: Brent & Becky’s Bulbs and Old House Gardens.

Dang, there’s a squirrel out there in the yard again! Why can’t you ever find a daffodil bulb when you need one?


  1. Are You Ready For Spring? – The Daily South | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] Bulbs Q: Leaves of my daffodils and other bulbs are already coming up! Should I cover them on freezing […]

    January 31, 2013 at 9:01 am
  2. Four Easy Bulb Planters to Make Now – The Daily South | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] Daffodils (the best overall bulbs for the South) work great, but they come in only two basic colors, white and yellow. I wanted more punch and variety this time, so I chose tulips, hyacinths, and grape hyacinths (Muscari). To get them to bloom together, I chose early-blooming types that are known for being easy to force into bloom indoors (even though that’s not what I did here). Here’s the bulb list: […]

    November 8, 2012 at 7:00 am
  3. Grumpy Gardener aka His Excellency

    Maybe your club could sell a book containing your favorite squirrel recipes.

    April 9, 2010 at 7:08 am
  4. gardenwise

    you made my day. Our garden club sold tulips as a fundraiser and the squirrels pulled them out of the pots and gnawed them. Sigh.
    Our bulb fundraising chairwoman suggests we sell BB guns along with the tulips next year. I suggested narcissus instead. But a squirrel with a case of lead poisoning doesn’t bother our ladies at all!

    April 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm
  5. Grumpy Gardener (His Grace)

    Go ahead, Grumpy can take it. Bring it on, PETA!

    April 3, 2010 at 10:39 am
  6. Laura Onceagain

    Oh you are in so much trouble! I initially saw this link on a Southern Living Facebook page and passed it along to an artist/garden friend without fully reading the page. Serves me right, She fired back a rather nasty retort in defense of the annoying little rodents. I get tired of them leaving half eaten fruit all over my yard and tormenting my yorkie by running along the fence for no reason at all. I merely suggested putting out daffodil bait for the little buggers.
    I’m going to send her over here so she can email you, instead. 😉

    April 3, 2010 at 10:22 am
  7. Aunty Matter

    This is a job for…..
    SON OF ED!!!

    April 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm
  8. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Yes, Terri, they are — although why some people would call white flowers “buttercups” escapes me.

    March 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  9. Terri

    Are these the same flowers that some older people refer to as “buttercups”?

    March 30, 2010 at 12:00 am
  10. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Lucy, technically jonquils belong to the species Narcissus jonquilla. They typically have small, multiple, very fragrant flowers per stem and the ends of their leaves are pointed. Daffodils typically have one larger, single, nonfragrant flower per stem and the ends of their leaves are rounded.
    Don’t bother planting bulbs that are left over from last fall. They won’t be any good.

    March 29, 2010 at 6:41 am
  11. David

    Great daffodils, but I can’t take my eyes off of the carpet of moss developing in front of them!

    March 28, 2010 at 9:06 am
  12. helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence

    I love them too!

    March 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm
  13. Lucy McCown

    We did plant many daffodils last fall. But I have an overwhelming urge to plant some more NOW, wouldn’t they bloom in early summer? And which varieties are referred to as Jonquils as opposed to daffodil?

    March 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm
  14. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Try paperwhite narcissus. They don’t need any chilling.

    March 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm
  15. Rhonda

    Herr Bender!
    Love it.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm
  16. joanpfl

    I just wish we could grow daffodils down here in south Florida. I have great memories of them popping up all over the yard during my childhood. One year I tried digging them up and chilling them for a few week, but I’m too lazy to keep up with it.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm

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