The Purge

The late daffodils are still rounding out the season, but I can’t wait any longer.  While their blooms are still fresh in my mind I’ve gone around and done a daffodil inventory, and then let loose with the first round of narciss-icide.  I’m down to a baker’s dozen times ten, which I don’t think is excessive at all.  The second assault will start in June, when I dig the crowded clumps and only save as many as I *need* for replanting.

Three more buckets filled.  The survivors look nervous, but I told them they were safe for now.

It looks ruthless and sort of is, but when a bulb or two slowly turns into a foot wide, congested clump, something needs to be done.  Actually something should have been done a few years ago, but better late than never, right?  Let me know if you’re interested in any,  I still feel the slightest twinge of guilt tossing perfectly fine daffodils just because.

daffodil geranium

A happier view of daffodils.  ‘Geranium’ in the front border alongside some moneyplant (Lunaria annua’).  It was beautiful on Sunday and the flowers glowed.

Now I’ll wait until the foliage begins to yellow, about six weeks after bloom, dig the clumps, dry off the bulbs, hang in mesh bags, and then replant this autumn.  Hopefully by then I will still have enough empty spaces to put them all back in to!

Have a great week 🙂

19 comments on “The Purge

  1. I also have some clumps that need to be separated. And yes, I’ll take some of your cast offs! I’ll put them along the back and side edges of the yard. No such thing as too many daffodils!

  2. This just reminds me that I need to do this dirty chore. It seems so daunting when the clumps are so big.

    • bittster says:

      When I first planted them it was exciting to see the numbers double or triple every spring, but now a few years later, I’m much happier with the ones who have been slowly multiplying and still bloom as nicely as ever each spring.
      I would just dig 2/3 of the clump, toss it, and not touch the rest of the clump. I’m sure they will be happy to lose some of their neighbors. That’s what I would try, but since mine all need to move anyway there’s no other option but to dig them all…

  3. Tim says:

    You didn’t specify whether you saved some of those heavily frilled fluffy doubles, but I trust a gardener of your sophistication would of course realize their merit.

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Wow, what a task – good for you for tackling it. Makes my meager clumps look like nothing. If you really are sharing the June haul, I’d take a small flat rate box of them and refund you the postage. So generous!

    • bittster says:

      Excellent! You are on the list, and maybe I can talk you into a bigger box 😉
      It’s so much more rewarding to plant new bulbs than it is to divide old clumps. With that in mind I’m already browsing online catalogs to look for a few treats as a reward for all this hard work!

  5. Deborah Banks says:

    Very inspiring! Sign me up for some bulbs! I could cough up postage also. 🙂
    I’ve been doing a similar purge on Primula elatior – the shade garden looks like a sea of pale yellow. They look so cute as babies with their crimped little leaves, and only later do I wonder what treasure they seeded in on top of.

    • bittster says:

      You’re on the list!
      A sea of yellow in the shade garden sounds great, but I bet you do have quite a few other treasures to protect. I was thrilled to find a blooming elatior this spring, and now I’m wondering if there will be many more showing as it settles in. Who would have thought that I’d find a few primula that can survive in this garden. Hopefully it stays that way and we don’t go back to overly droughty summers.

  6. Cathy says:

    I bet there would be a lot of people envious of those huge clumps of daffs… like me! I will have to wait quite some time to see mine spread!

    • bittster says:

      Yours will clump up before you know it, I know mine did! Hard to believe how fast the years can slip by, but each spring is still a joy, even when the daffodils are crowded 🙂

  7. What’s better than a foot-wide, congested clump? A two-foot wide congested clump!

  8. “Narcissi-cide”… I love it! Although it will be a while before I get to that point, having only put in my first two clumps just last fall. So I am still in the Critter-Proof Bulb Acquisition Phase at this garden.

    • bittster says:

      Critter Proof B.A.P. -I wish you luck! Seems that here for every critter proof bulb I plant I find a new critter… Scillas are pestproof, and then I watched the woodchuck mow them down and move on to the epimedium.
      Now the woodchuck has moved on (with the help of a trap and a long car ride).

      • Deborah Banks says:

        What do you use in your have-a-heart trap that is working? We have not had any luck getting a rabbit or woodchuck to go into it.

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