Plants are more than beautiful gifts of nature. The part they play in the cycle of life is irreplaceable. They are essential to life itself: by converting the energy from the sun into food, by providing oxygen for the lungs and by creating beauty for the spirit.

November is a good time to thank plants and also those who serve and have served in the armed forces of the United States. In the language of flowers, daffodils mean “regard and respect.” For the past 10 years, the Four Seasons Garden Club has planted daffodil bulbs in Evanston.

This year on Nov. 11, after the Veterans’ Day service in Fountain Square, the Four Seasons Garden Club is
inviting citizens to “Plant a Daffodil” in Patriots’ Park (Davis Street and Sheridan Road). The garden club
members will provide instructions, a daffodil bulb and
the use of a trowel. The bulbs planted on the 11th will make a colorful show next spring.

Daffodil bulbs can be planted until the ground freezes. Deer and squirrels do not bother them, and best of all, daffodil bulbs can often be found on sale in late November.

In addition to planting bulbs outdoors, daffodils can also be encouraged to bloom indoors in mid-winter.

Editor’s note: This is Virginia L. Beatty’s inaugural column of “Growing Together,” which will be a regular feature of the RoundTable. Ms. Beatty is well known for her love of history, plants and Evanston.

Directions:

1. Start with large bulbs. Pick the ones that look and feel like top-quality onions.

2. Use any container that has a hole in its bottom for good drainage. Cover the hole with screen or a piece of old sock to keep the potting mix in while allowing water out.  

3. Put a layer of potting mix in the container so the tips of the bulbs will be even with the top rim of the container. Place bulbs, almost touching each other, pointy side up, on the mix. Press the bulbs gently down into the mix. Add more mix and firm it around the bulbs. The mix should come to a half inch below the rim of the container.

4. Water well. Put planted container in a cold (40-50o F), dark spot to develop roots. Keep mix moist but not soggy; do not allow to dry out. This stage takes about 10 to 12 weeks. At this point, rooted containers can be held for several weeks.

5. To bring bulbs into bloom, remove container from the cold, dark area and place next to a window in a cool room. Keep the soil moist and give the pots a quarter turn each day to prevent plants from becoming lopsided.

6. Enjoy an early spring.

7. After the flowers have faded, keep the foliage growing. In spring, plant the bulbs outdoors. 

    P.S.: In winter, potted daffodils can often be purchased        ready to bloom.