Derry Springrowth Garden Centre: Spring bulbs

Flowers are in bloom and the daffodils have made an appearance along roadsides and gardens.

By Daire Ní Chanáin
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 10:40 am

It’s too late to plant bulbs now, but Cyril, from Springrowth Garden Centre in Springtown, explains how to care for spring bulbs.

Cyril said: “Ever since I was at primary school, I have been fascinated with flowering Spring bulbs. I remember taking a detour on my way home from school in Strathfoyle so I could walk past a garden in Beechwood Park; we were supposed to come straight home so I hurried to this particular garden then slowed down as I passed it. It was bursting with colour, every shade of yellow daffodil you could imagine and a few weeks later a mass of red and yellow tulips.

“By now, the snowdrops and crocus have usually been and are on their way out for another year by the time the daffodils make an appearance.

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Cyril and Alison Quinn, proprietors of the Springrowth Landscape and Garden Centre, Springtown Industrial Estate. DER2115GS – 028

“I’ve seen daffodils called the ‘Heralds of Spring’ which is quite fitting as once they start to emerge you take joy from the fact that the Winter is coming to an end and the warm, bright evenings are on the way again.

“When the daffodils start to fade, the tulips take over and fill the next few weeks until late Spring/early Summer. There are hundreds of varieties available, in various colours and heights. My favourites are the frilly, feathered petalled varieties.

“Aftercare is something I want to touch on today. A lot of people have their own ways of doing things in their garden, their own methods and traditions and that’s fine. But if I can help with what I have picked up over the years and pass it on then that would be great too.

“I often see a lot of gardeners either fold the leaves of their daffodils over and tie them with twine or elastic bands, cut them in half with scissors or just run the lawn mower or strimmer over them. We have become obsessed with neat and tidy gardens with everything pruned to perfection and lawns resembling a snooker table but, sometimes, we should just let nature take its course.

When the daffidols start to die off, Cyrril says not to be tempted to trim them right back but to wait it out.

“Everything in nature has a cycle to complete in order to survive and reproduce and bulbs are no different. That’s why when you leave them alone after flowering they will try to produce seed, just behind where the petals fatten. If you pinch these seed heads off just after the flower is finished, the energy that would be put into producing seed will instead feed the bulb.

“This makes for stronger, more vigorous bulbs the following year. Same for tulips, just snap off the seed head after the petals drop. Let them go for a few weeks until the leaves start to brown and then cut them back and tidy them.

“Most of us will remember the poem ‘Daffodils’ by William Wordsworth from our schooldays:

“I wander’d lonely as a cloud, That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils, Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

Cyril says to pull the head off the daffidol to encourage the bulb to grow more for the following year.