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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Bulbs in Irelands Gardens

The horticultural "light-bulb" moment.

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James Kilkelly
Rank: Site Admin

Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2173
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:30 pm    Post subject: The horticultural "light-bulb" moment. Reply with quote

Quite a few seasoned gardeners have retold to me the tale of their horticultural light-bulb moment. A light bulb moment is where you have a sudden realisation about something. For the gardeners I speak of, it was the moment of realisation they were about to dedicate all their available spare time to gardening. They were about to dive headlong into a busy, but rewarding lifetime of planting, pruning, weeding, fertilising, eating, sleeping and drinking this gardening lark. Many of you reading this may have already have had your light-bulb moment. For you, it may have begun with your earliest large sunflower grown from seed, or you may have become hooked the first time you tasted your gardens organic vegetables.

Narcissus (daffodils), photo / pic / image.

I'll wager though, that the vast majority of Irish gardeners had their first horticultural "experience" by planting a few daffodil bulbs, thus spurring them onto more adventurous plantings. I notice when visiting gardens, the great quantities of these daffodils that both seasoned, amateur and child gardeners plant to herald in the spring. These bulbs will, without fail, flower well for any gardener the first growing season. To ensure they to bloom well for you throughout the many springs to come, I suggest the following tips for their care...

Dieback, not tieback.
All bulb leaves must be allowed a minimum of six weeks after flowering to die down. So, if these bulbs are planted in a lawn, that area of lawn must remain uncut for six weeks. Refrain from tying your Daffodil leaves in knots to neaten their appearance, also avoid folding them over and securing with rubber bands. If the bulbs leaves are naturally allowed to die back then they will take in the energy for next years flowering.

Don't waste energy.
I would also recommend nipping off the bulbs spent flower heads, once flowering is finished. This practice prevents the bulbs diverting vital energy to seed production, instead you are now causing it to use all that energy to bulk up its food store for next season.

Feed to swell your bulbs.
The final tip for blooming bulbs next spring is to feed your bulbs, this is especially important if you have a hungry or poor soil. Apply a general-purpose foliar also known as a liquid feed to the fully emerged leaves before the blooms start to form. I would also advise you to feed your bulbs just as the blooms have faded, using a granular bulb fertiliser applied around the base of the bulbs foliage. This is the most important feed of the two you can possibly give them. Ensure this feed has a higher potassium or potash content than nitrogen content. Apply it according to the manufacturers instructions and heed safety warnings.

Daffodil image courtesy USDA APHIS PPQ Archives, USDA APHIS PPQ,

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