This photo . . . is my garden in early April. It’s pretty bleak and very bare. Except for those brilliant pops of yellow! I am always thrilled to see my daffodils popping up in the spring. Absolutely thrilled! I’ve planted hundreds of daffodils througout my garden over the years, and they are spreading and “naturalizing” . . . and I love them all.
But then, this happens . . .
The blooms are long gone, but the leaves and stems stand tall . . . getting uglier and rattier with every day that passes. I try to plant my bulbs “under” other plants — so the dying daffodil “greenery” will be hidden by emerging nearby plants. It often works. Except when it doesn’t. By Memorial Day, my happy, heart-lifting daffodil blooms . . . have become the eyesores of my garden!
I’m sure all of you daffodil-growers know . . . that you should never cut back the stems and leaves of your past-blooming daffodils. Instead, you want to let those unsightly leaves collect as much sunshine as they can . . . so the bulbs can re-energize themselves and prepare for next year’s bloom. And I try to do that with my daffodil-detritus. But . . . ugh.
Over the years, I’ve read about/seen many “daffodil tricks” that gardeners have promoted to make their dying daffodil foliage less . . . unsightly . . . in their spring garden beds. Tying the foliage with rubber bands or braiding the foliage, for example. Tedious work. And not recommended by daffodil experts. (They advise letting the foliage die naturally, only recommending removal when the leaves are fully dead and yellow.)
I let the leaves die back naturally . . . for as long as I can stand it. But eventually . . . it gets to me. Usually about now . . . Memorial Day weekend.
I’ve come up with a happy-medium solution in my own garden: if the foliage is “hidden” under other plants, I let it die naturally — like the experts suggest. But if it’s just . . . there . . . sticking out like a sore thumb? I “fold” it down and tuck it away a little bit. It has gotten the benefit of 5-6 weeks of sunshine-collection, and it’ll still be getting some additional sunshine after I “fold” the foliage back.
So. It’s Memorial Day weekend.
Time to start folding!
How do I “fold” my dying daffodil leaves?
First, I identify two sturdy-yet-flexible leaves or stems (you can see them standing apart from the leaves in my hand in the photos, above). Then, I grab a hunk of foliage (no more than what I’ve grabbed in the first photo; any more and it’s just too much to manage) while leaving the two sturdy-yet-flexible leaves alone.
Then, I fold the hunk of foliage in half (you can see that in the photo on the left, above).
Then, I wrap the two sturdy-yet-flexible leaves around the base of the folded-over hunk of daffodil foliage LOOSELY (from opposite directions), and tie them in a LOOSE knot.
The dying foliage can still collect sunshine, but things look a little more . . . kempt. A bit less wild.
It’s a bit tedious, sure. So I only do it where the dying daffodil foliage looks particularly out of control — or where it’s actually getting in the way of other plants. It helps. (And when the foliage turns completely yellow . . . in a few more weeks . . . I’ll just grab those hunks of foliage and stick them in the compost pile.)
It’s far from ideal. But it does tidy things up in the garden.
(And now you know how I’ll be spending some of my time in the garden this Memorial Day weekend!)
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!