A Delightful Moment in the Garden—When to Move On

Clearing away what’s no longer vibrant to make way for new life in seasons to come

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Posted in , Jun 27, 2022

Moving on the garden

By early July, daffodil season feels like it was eons ago—yet it’s one of my favorite annual moments in my life as the caretaker of a patch of these bright, sunny spring bulbs. 

Why?

Because just a few weeks ago, once the blooms had either faded or found their way into cheerful tabletop bouquets, I took a few minutes to knot off my daffodils’ wilting greenery into pleasing little bundles. I was neatening up my garden as early summer plants started to emerge, while also enabling my daffodils to experience their full annual growth-dormancy cycle so they put on a spectacular show next year.

And so, by early July, I get to wander around my garden looking at my knotted daffodil greens, waiting for the right moment for the most satisfying early summer task—removing a fat handful of weeds in one light tug. Once I see slender streaks of brown leaves woven among the pale greenery, I know: it’s time.

Reaching down, I grasp each knot like I would pick up the handle of a purse. Then I pull, firmly but without having to “put my back into it.” When the bundle is ready, it will let go of its parent-bulb with a pleasing pop of release, and I’ll find myself holding a long mane of leaves ready for the yard waste or compost bin. Take a look at the video below to see how it’s done.

Interestingly, even if your daffodil bulbs are all the same variety, not all your bundles will be ready to pull at the same time. If the knots don’t let go easily, gently release your hand, leave the bundles in place and look forward to checking back in after a couple of days.

I always bring a reflective mindset to this annual task. I love the juxtaposition of letting go, removing and clearing away what’s no longer vibrant, while also knowing I’m preserving the health and promise of these beautiful bulbs to experience the rest they need, and then return to full glory when their season comes around again.

As I work my way through my garden, I ask myself, what will I let go of to ensure that I’ll keep growing when a new day dawns? 

What will you?

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