Make essential cut backs

PUBLISHED: 12:05 27 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

Daffodils

Daffodils

FOR more years than I care to remember at this time of the year I have been urging readers to remove the dead flowers of daffodils by picking them from the base of the stem and then letting the leaves die down for at least six weeks before they can be cut

FOR more years than I care to remember at this time of the year I have been urging readers to remove the dead flowers of daffodils by picking them from the base of the stem and then letting the leaves die down for at least six weeks before they can be cut or mown if the bulbs are growing in grass.

Without carrying out this treatment the daffodils may come up the following year, but their flowers will be few and the year after that it will be just leaves and eventually the bulbs will fail.

However, I think this yearly ritual is worth the effort for the pleasure that daffodils give each spring.

It is also important where snowdrops and winter aconites are growing in grass that they are untouched by mowers until their foliage has withered and died.

Treated like this the snowdrops will continue to multiply with more bulbs growing beneath the soil until the clumps need dividing and replanting, which is a job for this time of the year.

The aconites need to be left for several weeks while their seeds ripen and then fall to produce new plants, provided they like their situation.

However, this will be the last time that I give this or any other advice through this column as I am retiring.

I would therefore like to thank all the readers who have commented on what I have written and in some cases passed on advice and encouragement for projects in my own garden which I have described in the column.

Essentially, I have written about what I have been doing in my own garden and greenhouse week by week. I have tried to share the pleasures and the disappointments, and at the same time encourage others to discover the joy of gardening.

In future, like all retired people, I will be able to devote even more time to my large garden and I am looking forward to being able to go out and mow the lawns when the weather is right instead of looking through my office window at the sunshine then finding that it rains on my days at home.

Finally I would like to say goodbye to my readers in New York at the United Nations headquarters where my daughter works and this column is read each week on-line. I am glad that it has given you pleasure.

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