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Daffodils don’t last. Here’s how long you can see them in Raleigh’s Dix Park.

Can Dix Park double down on its flower frenzy?

After last year’s successful sunflower surprise, the Raleigh park’s leaders are betting on another attraction to delight floral fans.

Enter the daffodils.

About 50,000 yellow bulbous flowers have bloomed, forming a winding ribbon through the park’s flower fields toward the downtown Raleigh skyline.

“We wanted to continue beautification of the park and create something a little whimsical and inviting to get people outside,” said Kate Pearce, senior planner for Dix Park.

Last year’s sunflowers rocketed in popularity after the city quietly planted five acres of them last summer. They became one of the most popular spots to take a photo and filled Raleigh’s social media feeds for weeks.

While close by, the daffodils aren’t in the same location. Visitors can find them behind the flower cottage, near the historic cemetery off Umstead Drive.

The city planted the daffodils this past November with the help of Virginia-based Brent and Beck’s Bulbs and The Planting Company. They used a special machine that lifts the dirt, plants the bulbs and tamps the the soil back down, making it appear as if nothing has changed.

“They bloomed a little bit earlier than expected but it’s a fun effort to get people to the park,” Pearce said. “It’s this whole idea of a whimsy and surprising, special thing to do.”

People interested in the flowers only have a short window to enjoy them, said Charles Craig, Raleigh park superintendent. The blooms will only last two to three weeks, he said.

“They are gorgeous,” he said. “And people should come and take a look at them.”

RAL_20190311_daffodils_CAT_
Melissa Pitaccio sits with her dog Dahlia by the ribbons of about 50,000 daffodils that recently emerged at the Flowers Field at Dorothea Dix Park on Monday, Mar. 11, 2019, in Raleigh, NC. Casey Toth ctoth@newsobserver.com

If you go to see the daffodils

State employees work at Dix Park during the day, and visitors should avoid parking in N.C. Department of Health and Human Services lots during the day. Some parking lots are open weekends and weeknights. Parking is also available along Barbour Drive, at the soccer fields and at the South Boylan Street entrance.

The city recommends wearing closed-toe shoes and reminds people the park has no drinking water and only porta-johns for bathrooms. Dogs must be on a leash, and owners must pick up after them.

And, most importantly, leave the flowers alone. Picking the flowers is prohibited.

Did you know?

There are 40 to 200 daffodil species and over 32,000 hybrids of the plant, according to the American Daffodil Society. The type at Dix Park is called Baren wyn.

Daffodils are also called Narcissus flowers, named after the Greek hunter Narcissus, who spurned all those who sought his affection, fell in love with his own reflection and killed himself because his love could never be returned. A Narcissus flower was said to bloom where he died.

Daffodils were also said to comfort Jesus during “Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.” The Bible says Jesus walked after the Last Supper and was saddened to know he was betrayed by Judas.

Poultry farmers believe daffodils will stop hens from laying so they are avoided on farms, according to the American Daffodil Society.

Medieval women in high society were said to use the yellow flower dye to tint their hair and eyebrows, according to the American Daffodil Society.

Daffodils are some of the first flowers to bloom and represent “new beginnings” and a “fresh start.” It is said they bring about good luck if they bloom during the Chinese New Year, according to the American Daffodil Society.

If you put daffodils in a vase with other plants, be sure to soak the daffodil in water for 24 hours first. The plant can be poisonous to other plants.

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Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has previously covered city government, crime and business for newspapers across North Carolina and received many North Carolina Press Association awards, including first place for investigative reporting. She is a 2012 alumna of Elon University.
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