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My husband’s grandmother grew up on Daffodil Hill. As long as I’ve been around this family, I’ve known one thing – GrandBetty loves daffodils! She has paintings of them in her home. She has metal ones purchased from craft shows in her front flower beds. And the fields around her home are covered with them during March.
Her love of daffodils has overflowed to my son and me. Each spring, we anticipate the first signs of spring as the green leaves of daffodils start sprouting up, and the tiny yellow blooms begin to form. It was effortless for us to find daffodils for our weekly watch. But we’ve moved and are investigating more places for “operation daffodil watch.” So, we thought we’d share some of our favorite spots and places our friends find daffodils in Arkansas.
This is by far our favorite place to visit for daffodils. Maybe it was the ease of access when we lived in South Arkansas, but it was a fun stop to watch and measure growth each week. This state park is also home to the Jonquil Festival, celebrating its 55th Anniversary this year among the original homestead grounds of an 18th-century town along the Old Southwest Trail. The three-day festival, on the third weekend of March, brings together Arkansans, craftspeople, musicians, and vendors for a widely attended annual event among thousands of daffodils. The festival is free, with $5 parking supporting local civic organizations. Nearby Coulter Farmstead is a great place to stay and walk to the local events. Or, if you dare, the Jailhouse Bed and Breakfast on-site.
Camden has long been home to the Camden Daffodil Festival, and the community’s yards, fields, and historic grounds show the story. Many of the homes in the Washington Street Historic district are on the National Register and date to the Civil War era when Camden played a significant role in the Red River Campaign. The McCollum-Chidester Museum serves as a cornerstone to the community’s historic preservation, along with the Ouachita County Historical Society. Several historic homes, farms, and churches throughout the town offer guided tours for visitors to see and experience the history of the blooms. Don’t miss the annual steak cook-off full of bragging rights and good food.
Arkansas’s Daffodil Hill title goes to Wye Mountain. As the story goes, in the 1920s, Austin and Bessie Harmon owned a fruit farm next to the schoolhouse where the Wye Evangelical United Brethren Church gathered. With changes in the economy through the Great Depression, a trip to “town” for supplies became an extended business endeavor. Harmon made his annual stop by the Hackett Feed Store for supplies and stories. The owner offered him daffodil bulbs to put on his 7-acre orchard with the agreement that he would double them and bring them back the following year to sell in the store.
As word spread about the “blooming orchard,” other business owners sought out the Harmon bulbs, and as they say, “a blooming business formed.” The Harmons picked up a contract with the TG&Y stores, a five-and-dime chain in railroad towns. Years later, as the Harmons grew ill and passed, parishioners, friends and neighbors developed the Wye Mountain Festival to draw in visitors.
No one puts on a better show for guests than host P. Allen Smith, at his Arkansas farm. With a March birthday, Allen loves to experience Spring in its fullness. Tours offer guests experiences from staying on-site to making container gardens, learning to arrange flowers and photographing lambs and daffodils. I’ve attended his events, and they always share the best southern hospitality, seasonal scents and behind-the-scenes look at everyday life on the farm.
Due to some late winter freezes, the spring blooms in the Garvan Woodland Gardens have been exquisite over the last few years. Whether the extra push through the frozen ground or long days of sunshine, the daffodils and tulips showed out during spring break season. As would be expected by a designated gardening ground, the daffodils in the Three Sisters of Amity Daffodil Hill and the Trapp Mountain Overlook glow with explosions of these first spring blooms. The tulip extravaganza lasts most of April. The gardens are open daily from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., with admission and group pricing available.
Among the 12 themed gardens, foliage blooms year-round at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks. Pop-up events for preschool and elementary-aged students help families explore the unfolding spring themes. A day pass is free to members or $10 for adults and $5 for children five and older. Additionally, environmental education classes and garden experiences offer workshops among the foliage of the grounds.
Just this week, while leaving a lunch appointment on our main street, I noticed collections of green leaves starting to emerge around the grounds of our local history museum. I recognized these as the first signs that daffodils were on their way.
As you drive around town, local parks and open fields are great places to spot these yellow bonnets. It’s a scavenger hunt and quest we make each March as we drive around, sometimes just taking a drive to look for “GrandBetty’s yellow flowers.”
Halloween through the first week of November is the best time to plant your daffodil bulbs. Our resident garden expert, Talya Tate Boerner, may have better advice for us. Still, November is when you want to get your spring blooms in the ground like snowdrops, crocus, daffodils, tulips, pansies and violets. Check with your local Master Gardner club for planting information in your local zone.
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[…] Best Places to Find Daffodils in Arkansas this Spring […]