Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Layered Planting -- Should I cut back faded bulb leaves?


In the spring, garden chores arrive with the force of an inbound communter train--the list so full, it's hard to know where to begin.  One chore that gets "overlooked" is tidying up after faded bulbs.  Susan, who sets us all a fine example, braids the blooms and foliage then lays them on their sides until nature takes over.  Her proper English mother would expect no less. 


Recent opinion is that foliage may be cut back without damaging the bulbs.  Old schoolers would hold out for letting them die back naturally.   Often deer and bunnies do the work.

For an easy approach, plant daffodil bulbs between hosta plants.  Paperwhite or miniature daffodils (also known as narcissus minimus) work best as they bloom earlier, and the foliage is more diminutive. The bulbs emerge and provide color to the hungry eye.  As they die back, the tiny shoots of the hosta begin to unfurl and poke through the soil.  Once growth begins, it's only a short time before the hosta emerges in its circular glory, the gently drooping leaves covering the remaining spent daffodils.  Out of sight, then off the chore list!

Nature provides the answer.  No snipping or bending required.

More Articles of Interest:
Planting Bulbs -- Pay it Forward

Eat This Not That -- Toxic Plants and Bulbs for Humans and Animals

Will This Early Warm Weather Harm My Plants?