Over 50,000 daffodil bulbs are starting to emerge at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah for its famous spring bulb display, flowering now through to mid-September.
Daffodils or Narcissus spp. are synonymous with spring and symbolise rebirth and new beginnings. In England, due to their long association with Lent, they're known as the "Lent Lily." Daffodils are the birth flower for March and the 10th wedding anniversary - so if you have a special milestone coming up keep that in mind and thank us later!
The annual Daffodil Festival (24 August – 1 September) is a highlight on the yearly calendar as it heralds the welcome arrival of spring and is a photographers dream come true.
This year’s display is the largest to date in the festival’s history with the Garden’s horticulturists planting an additional 183 cultivars of daffodils. This brings the total to over 520 different cultivars to admire as you walk through the picturesque Brunet Meadow and beyond. The early flowering jonquils, with small clusters of fragrant flowers are a feature of the Residence Garden also, so don’t forget to smell these winter gems .
We recommend making a day or weekend of it, following the Blue Mountains Road Trip guide on Bells Line of Road. Enjoy lunch or a coffee at The Potager Mount Tomah or pack a picnic and admire the display from our new picnic shelters nearby. You can even stay overnight in the Garden in the onsite accommodation and stay amongst the flowers.
Once a cut flower farm
There is a long history of cultivating daffodils at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah as it was originally cut flower farm before it was gifted to the state of New South Wales.
The original owners, Alfred and Effie Brunet, already had established a flower nursery at West Pennant Hills and were looking to expand their business by creating a cool-weather nursery at Mount Tomah. The Garden’s location was perfect for them so they purchased the land and grew cut flowers there from about 1934 to 1968 and imported many daffodil cultivars.
A lot of the daffodils you see at the Garden in bloom are from their original bulbs — those planted by the Brunets and some supplied back to the Garden as gifts from neighbours who had initially received their stock from Alfred and Effie.
Over the past few years, many more daffodils have been planted by our horticulturists. From now until mid-September is the best time to come and see them.
The Brunet Garden is going to be truly spectacular for spring, with all of your favourite bulbs on show in whites, pinks, blues, yellows and more. This is all framed by a vast collection of new deciduous azaleas and lilacs, some of which are not displayed anywhere else in Australia.
Bring the kids along to take it all in and capture some incredible photos – remember to tag us on Twitter with @bluemtnsbg and Instagram using @bluemountainsbotanicgarden #bluemountainsbotanicgarden so we can share vast sea of daffodils across our channels.
Grow your own
Daffodils enjoy well-drained soil and prefer raised beds. Daffodils look the best when planted in clumps rather than in rows - the larger the clump the better the effect!
They come in a wide range of colours, from traditional bright yellow to cream, pink and white and can be ruffled or trumpet shaped.
They are great to grow for a beautiful cut flower, as a massed display in a sunny garden bed with well-drained soil or in a container where they can be a great spring feature. They grow well with pansies, violas, Alyssum, Nemesia to name a few and create a feast of colour in your garden.
Watch a recent Sydney Weekender episode filmed in the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah with host Mike Whitney. Learn about the Daffodil Festival, formal garden and all that the Garden has to offer. There are even some more bulb tips from our bulb expert Mat Murray.
Here are some top tips from the Garden’s horticulture team to grow your own bulbs successfully at home.
Bulbs generally like rich, well-drained soil. The application of a complete fertiliser through late winter will improve the quality of blooms produced and build strength for the following season.
As a rule of thumb, a bulb should be planted at a depth of three-times the height of the bulb itself.
Narcissus bulbs are naturally adapted to drier climates, so water them well once they have been planted then only as required. If the weather has been dry, give them a generous amount of water through late winter as the foliage begins to emerge.
Bulbs such as Tulips, Hyacinths and Muscari benefit from being lifted, divided and replanted every three years.
Additional tip! Although it may be unsightly, allow the foliage to die down naturally. Bulbs ‘draw’ the energy back out of their leaves, and re-use that energy to produce the following season’s flowers.