Spring’s frosty disappointments: droopy daffodils

by Yvonne on April 5, 2012 · 6 comments

in Spring, Weather

frost damaged daffodils

Alas – the Ice Follies daffodils could not live up to their name – it was too frosty

Ah, spring 2012, what a challenge you are! As one would expect after a non-winter, a March heat wave that lasted more than a week — followed by nights of hard frost — there have been casualties.

We have hundreds of daffodils out in the garden, and many of them are toast. (Most of the daffodils in our garden are the result of years of buying forced potted daffodils for the house in late winter and planting them out into the garden later.)

vase

Bright yellow petals with orange cups, daffodil 'Fortune', I think

Our poor daffs are now hanging their heads because the hot weather in March lured them into blooming weeks ahead of time and then slammed them with hard frosts in April.

I have been cutting daffodils for the house daily. In a normal spring I might do it once or twice, but this year the only real way to enjoy them has been taking them inside. The daffodils that are open and in full bloom tend to get destroyed, but the ones still in bud are more resilient, so I pick them for my vases.

Bulbs are tough and frosts that destroy the flowers are not going to kill the plants. What I’m really worried about are the trees and shrubs, many of which have started to leaf out as temperatures continue to be above normal. Lately, cooler days and nights are slowing the process down, but we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to major frost damage.

Bulb display in my kitchen

Bulb display in my kitchen, I picked the hyacinths while it was snowing

What can you do? When it comes to gardeners and the weather, the late Henry Mitchell, author of The Essential Earthman, wasn’t one to mince words:

“It is not nice to garden anywhere,” he wrote. “Everywhere there are violent winds, startling once-per-five-centuries floods, unprecedented droughts, record-setting freezes, abusive and blasting heats never known before. There is no place, no garden, where these terrible things do not drive gardeners mad.”

My friend Sonia Day has some tips and cautions about the weather in her Toronto Star column, Droopy daffodils and other victims of weird weather patterns. I’m certainly taking her advice when it comes to my lavender plants:

Leave lavender alone. Period. Mine now stays a scraggly mess until May, because if you take the snippers to this temperamental babe prematurely, she may get huffy and die on you.

Good advice – that’s exactly how I will deal with my lavender plants.

One good thing has come out of this-too-early, too-dry spring so far: our garden clean-up has been done in record time. A good thing too: the lawn needs mowing now. Yes, it’s also a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary April 6, 2012 at 2:13 am

So interesting to hear of your weather ‘woes’. Down here in the southern hemisphere things are autumnally pottering along. I’ve finished planting all my bulbs and yours are flowering! Isn’t this world of two halves magical!
Thanks for sharing, Cheers, M

Reply

Eve April 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm

You are going through the same thing I went through at least a month ago Yvonne! It turned out ok tho. Just had the droopy daffodills. Everything else survived and are thriving!! Hope yours do the same!

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Salix April 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm

A few daffodils here didn’t make it, but most of them are just fine. My vases are full too. Your kitchen must be saturated with the beautiful scent of the daffodils.

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Monisha Vohra September 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your
blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for novice blog writers? I’d
certainly appreciate it.

Reply

Yvonne Cunnington September 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Hmmm, tips for blog writers, just go for it. Ideally, one should post regularly, but while I aspire to doing that, in practice, I post too irregularly.

Reply

Arnold Boulter September 15, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Wanaka NZ. Our dafs have their heads down, touchig the white grass, each morning, waking with the sun, lovely to watch them slowly rise.

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