Daffs and snowdrops bridging the seasons

The daffs are blooming.

The daffs are blooming.

Carnations

BRIAN KIDD: Gardening galore for the long weekend

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At last the daffodils are in flower and yet the snowdrops are still looking wonderful.

Did you know that this is the best time to feed the bulbs?

I can hear you saying to yourself that you have never fed daffs before. But if you enjoy seeing them in other people’s gardens and they have been there for years, it’s almost certain the kind gardener has given them a feed.

As you may remember, I never use Growmore since the new potato tubers were damaged by rounded pitting, which meant the granules had burned the lovely new potatoes.

Having bought half a hundredweight of Growmore, it had to be used and was scattered where the daffs were growing.

The results were staggering. The grass around the bulbs grew like mad. It was a foot high after three weeks, but the following year the daffs were brilliant, with the strongest foliage ever.

There is a little bit of science behind this. If the bulbs are fed while they are in full bloom, the flower for the following year will start to form at the base of the mother bulb.

Does feeding the bulbs when they are in full bloom apply to all bulbs?

The answer is yes. As soon as the flowers on all types of bulbs have finished flowering the dead blooms and seed heads are picked off using fingers and thumbs.

This job will ensure the bulbs flower again the following year because the energy which was intended to produce seeds is translocated down to the mother bulb.

All plants have a determination to survive. All we need to do is to encourage this natural desire.

Dead flowers on snowdrops are never removed because the flowers leave lovely rounded seed pods.

These slowly ripen and the seeds are scattered near the parent bulbs and a natural drift is gradually created.

Have a look at the local markets, adverts here in The News or in gardening magazines to see if you can find ‘snowdrops in the green’.

These seedlings are planted as soon as they arrive in little clumps in the garden or in tubs.

At garden centres you will see them still in bloom in little pots. Knock them out of the pots and without disturbing the roots, plant them where they can be seen from your window.

Snowdrops can be bought as bulbs but because they are so tiny they are hooked out by birds or squirrels and lots of them simply get lost, much better to plant them ‘in the green’.

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