While attending a marriage seminar on communication, Tom and his wife Peg listened to the instructor declare, "It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other." He asked Tom, "Can you describe your wife's favorite flower?" Tom leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "Pillsbury All-Purpose, isn't it?" The rest of the story is not pleasant. —Author unknown

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You don’t need to deadhead daffodils

Sorry for the long silence between posts, but I have a good excuse. I spent a week in Holland and Belgium as a guest of the Netherlands Bulb Information Center, followed by 10 days in Greece with my husband. Everywhere I went, I learned so much! I’ll be sharing a lot of it here, starting with a timely tip about whether to deadhead your spent daffodils.

When I got home, I noticed a lot of fat seedheads starting to form where the blooms used to be on my daffs. Conventional wisdom has been to snip off the spent flower because you want the plant to be directing all its energy to rebuilding the bulb, not in forming seeds.

But Hein Meeuwissen, a daffodil breeder in Voorhout, Netherlands, tells me that deadheading doesn’t really help the bulb that much. There’s no measurable difference in the bulb’s weight either way.

So if you don’t have time to deadhead, don’t fret. Your narcissus will be fine. Me, I’ll probably still say “Off with their heads!” for purely visual reasons.

And remember to keep the foliage intact, even when it goes through that horrible transformation from beautiful green to ugly brown. The leaves help the bulb plump up for another season. Resist the urge to braid, tie, or otherwise mutilate the leaves. The best thing you can do is plant other perennials nearby that will hide the dying foliage under their new green mantles.

Here’s one of Hein’s daffodil fields in Holland. Enjoy!

Daffodil fields in Holland/Photo by Deb Wiley

Daffodil fields in Holland/Photo by Deb Wiley

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