by: RITA A. LEONARD - Theresa Fritchle (right) organized the judges at the April Daffodil Show at the Rhododendron Garden on S.E. 28th just west of Reed College. At left is judge Elise Havens from Mitsch Daffodils.A bright array of daffodils shared center stage with rhododendrons at the April 6th and 7th show and sale at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. This was the third year that the Oregon Daffodil Society had joined with the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society for the “Early Show & Sale” there, creating a lovely display of spring flowers in the shade house. Both amateurs and professionals competed in the event, and admission to the Garden was free to all.

Two Oregon daffodil growers attended the event – Mitsch Daffodils from Hubbard, and Cherry Creek Daffodils of Amity. Elise Havens from Mitsch was one of the twelve certified judges for the show, which was chaired by Theresa Fritchle. Hundreds of entries were judged by color, form, condition, texture, and substance, and a host of blue and red ribbons fluttered in the breeze.

That breeze proved somewhat problematical, however, with the gusty winds blowing over tall entries in the front foyer. Other distractions included rain showers, gnats, and a Canada goose that chose to observe the show from the roof overhead. However, visitors enjoyed the huge variety of colors, shapes, and classifications. Buckets of mixed cut daffodils placed at the entrance were sold following the show.

Elise Havens generously shared info on the show and on daffodil culture. “Big standard daffodils are still the most popular, although now the intermediates and miniatures are becoming more desirable with gardeners,” she remarked. “Jonquils and tazettas (the category for paperwhites) are the most fragrant, while single and double blooms display a wide range of colors, from white and pale lemon to gold and apricot.”

Havens added that the best time to plant daffodil bulbs in our Portland climate is in September and October. “The two basic rules for successful growth are: First, be very minimal with fertilizer, and secondly, plant bulbs with good drainage.”

While daffodils and early-flowering rhododendron trusses commanded attention in the shade house at the April show and sale, visitors interested in purchasing rhododendron bushes flocked to the sale area nearby to choose their favorites for spring planting. Scores of happy visitors enjoyed the Early Show & Sale, treated to a fine preview of the Garden's annual Mother's Day extravaganza coming up this month on May 11-12.

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