Your daffodils now need looking after

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A job at the top of the list now is dead-heading daffodils. Once a flower has faded the next step for many is to produce a seed head and though this is what the plant wants, it is not what a gardener wants.

Allowing them to produce seed is detrimental to their future flowering.

Most varieties set quite a large green seed head and this is best removed, and at the same time, the foliage left untouched to die down naturally. In about four to six weeks it can be removed.

Once daffodils have flowered and faded is the time the bulbs build up for next year’s show and the goodness from the leaves, as well as the soil is where they get the nutrients. The foliage should neither be cut down nor tied in bunches but left untouched. Yes, it can be unsightly but this is best for the bulbs. Take a look around and anywhere the Council have daffodils planted in grass these areas are not cut until the leaves have withered.

The spring show of ‘a host of golden daffodils has prompted the question:’ Why are some of my clumps of daffodils devoid of flowers?

Clusters of bulbs can get overcrowded, restricting their proper development and so flowering is affected. Best that they are lifted, divided into smaller groups and replanted.

Lack of flowers can also be put down to a lack of nutrients in the soil. They may not be thought of as a flower to feed but daffodils, and all bulbs for that matter, will benefit from feeding, either granular worked into the soil or as a liquid given over several weeks while the foliage dies down.

Actually, daffodils did not last as long as in some years, this being due to the exceptional spell of high temperatures experienced last month.

Then the temperature plummeted in the final nights of April causing frost damage to the red new growth on pieris and spoilt camelia and magnolia flowers. There are two superb specimens of magnolia trees in the town, one in Weensland Road, the other in Drumlanrig Square. It would be interesting to know if readers know of any others.

With the less severe winter weather, tulips began blooming in mid-April -- these being more associated as May-flowering -- and they, too, suffered with the frost, their fleshy stems being doubled up that first morning.