The first daffodils of spring at the Nantucket Daffodil Festival are a welcome splash of bright color after a long Cape Cod winter. The flowers come back year after year, just like the summer visitors, and are the perfect spring island flower! Thanks to decades of work by the Nantucket Garden Club, each spring the island comes alive with over two million daffodils!
The end of April sees the island celebrating the start of the season with the Nantucket Daffodil Festival. The event embodies that bright hopeful energy of a new season, and is usually marked by sunny yellow outfits, wild hats, decorated storefronts and antique cars, parades, picnics, and more!
Like so many things, the Nantucket Daffodil Festival had to make some changes the past two springs due to coronavirus precautions. The Nantucket Daffodil Festival will be back next year, scheduled for April 22-24, 2022. The 46th Annual Daffodil Show, sponsored by the Nantucket Garden Club will be held in the greenhouses at Bartlett’s Farm April 23 & 24, 2022. After the festival’s events needing to go virtual for the past two years due to the corona virus pandemic, this year’s festival is sure to be spectacular!
The event has been running for over 45 years, beginning with the Nantucket Garden Club’s first annual Daffodil Show beginning in 1975. In 1978 garden club member Jean MacAusland led an effort to plant one million daffodil bulbs on Nantucket, starting with 30,000 that fall. The next September saw the group planting a whopping 8 tons of daffodil bulbs! With more and more plantings every year and the natural spread of daffodils, it’s estimated that there are about 2 million daffodils now blooming on the island of Nantucket.
The garden club continues to plant bulbs and you’ll see the sunny flowers along roadways and bike paths across the island. The Garden Club also works with local schools to help students plant their own daffodils and enter the flowers in the spring Flower Show. This work is supported by community donations at the annual festival.
As the daffodils bloomed and multiplied the festival grew as well. From the Daffodil Flower Show to an antique car parade, art shows, contests, the popular ‘Sconset picnic, window decorating, a pet show, tours, the Daffy Hat Contest, Children’s Parade, Morris Dancers, lectures, and more!
The Car Parade & Picnic, Bike Parade, and Pet Show will be back again this year. Decorate your antique car, bike, or pet in the spirit of the Daffodil Festival. Not only is it a fun activity for the whole family, but you’ll also have a great time seeing what other folks are up to in their daffy best! The same goes for the Dress Daffy Show; don your brightest and most elaborate daffodil-inspired hat creation and join in the fun!
If you want to bring the spirit of the festival to your front yard, why not start your own little plot of daffodils to enjoy each spring? The Nantucket Garden Club has lots of advice and plenty of experience on how to grow daffodils successfully on the island. They note that deer and rabbits leave the daffodils alone, and that they thrive in the island’s well drained soils. They also have great input on which varieties you’ll want to plant in the fall for early, mid, and late season blooms, as well as daffodils with stunning and unique blooms!
However, you’re celebrating the festival this year, be sure to get out and enjoy the cheerful flowers blooming across the island. The wonderful thing about the daffodils is their perennial nature, they just keep coming back. Hopefully, this season when the daffodils bloom there will be crowds in yellow outfits cheering along parades of cars and bikes!