Golden gardens are a welcome spring sight

Sponsored Daffodils blooming.
Sponsored Daffodils blooming.

BRIAN KIDD: A reader's question inspired by Remembrance Sunday, plus a list of jobs to be getting on with

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It was a delight to see the daffodils nodding in the breeze. There were some lovely pictures in The News and on the letters page there were several letters from readers who wanted to say how much they were appreciated.

In your garden they were the most welcome host ever, especially after a depressing winter.

Having praised these beautiful trumpets of spring, we must look after them and it’s not difficult.

As soon as the flowers fade they must be cut off. This is done by using fingers and thumbs just half-an-inch below the dead flower so that the seed head is removed at the same time.

Once the seed head is removed, a hormone reaction takes place. The mother bulb cannot produce seeds and every effort is made to ensure the bulb is conserved and instead of producing seeds, the mother bulb swells to produce a daughter bulb on one side of the mother bulb. I wonder if you knew that?

You will have noticed it was only the dead flower and seed heads which were removed – this means the flower stem was left intact.

Why? The flower stem and leaves are green. The cells inside absorb carbon dioxide from the air and in the presence of daylight they perform a wonderful process called photosynthesis.

As a result of this the CO2 and light produce a simple liquid sugar. The sugar passes down through the phloem tubes, right down to the mother bulb where it is stored as starch.

The starch is used by the plant to feed the bulb and amazingly a new flower bud starts to form in the centre of the bulb, ready to flower the following year.

You can now appreciate how important it is to keep that foliage but we can help the conservation process by giving the bulbs a feed and this is a very good time.

Liquid feeds using Maxicrop Complete plant food at full strength will work very quickly because the elements in this feed are all soluble and quickly absorbed. Vitax Q4 pelleted fertiliser is also good because it lasts for a long time.

Growmore is very cheap and, like Vitax, simply apply it at a rate of 4oz per square yard over the area.

I know the foliage will be a nuisance when planting out the summer-flowering plants, but here is a good tip.

When planting the summer plants fold the daffodil foliage to one side, pop in the new plant and allow the foliage of the bulbs to remain.

Every morsel of that foliage is going down into the mother bulb. And remember, mum is always right!