Daffodils Are Delightful, But Tulips Are Better
Let me stipulate that everything is beautiful in its own way, you can’t say one flower is better than another, and so on.
However. Really you can say that some flowers are better than others, and when it comes to spring bulbs, Tulips are better than Daffodils.
This isn’t just an opinion, it is backed up by research done at Princeton University’s Center for Horticulture and Advanced Thought (CHAT).
Right now the Daffodils are at their peak in my garden, and I do appreciate them, especially the way they glow in the spring sunshine.
Even so, the superiority of Tulips over Daffodils can be summarized in one word: color.
Tulips have a wider range of colors, and much stronger colors.
There are no daffodils of brilliant red or dark purple or vibrant orange. OK, there are daffodils that have cups of a sort of apricot or orangey pink, but that is hardly the same.
Also, colors mix in Tulips much more dramatically than they do with Daffodils. With Daffodils, you may get a perianth (petals) of one color and a cup of another. Sometimes the cup fades from a lighter to a deeper shade. Very nice.
But with Tulips, you can get stripes and swirls and one dazzling color flushed with another.
Right now my ‘Early Harvest’ Tulips are done except for the ones in a single pot. But as ‘Early Harvest’ exits, T. praestans ‘Fusilier’ and ‘Unicum’ (with variegated leaves) keep my need for brilliant color satisfied.
There’s also a few white and yellow Tulip species in my garden: lots of T. turkestanica, a few T. biflora, and the T. dasystemon are just starting to bloom. Many more will make their appearance in the next few weeks.
It must be admitted that Daffodils do have one huge advantage over tulips: critters don’t eat daffodils – all parts of the plant are toxic.
Also, as far as I can tell the poets have been more effusive about Daffodils than about Tulips. Tulips don’t have anything to match Wordsworth’s “host of golden daffodils, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.” There is a poem by Sylvia Plath which gives you the feeling she actually hates tulips. If someone knows of a poem which corrects this imbalance, please let me know.
Do you agree with me that Narcissi have their charms, but they are no match for Tulips?