What To Do With All That “Mushy Stuff”

The ice is gone. The snow has melted and the sun has finally come out. If you hadn’t seen it first hand, no one in their right mind would ever believe that less than a week ago, Texas was iced over. This week, it feels almost like early summer (typical Texas). All that is left to remind us of the crazy weather is the destruction in the garden…..and a bunch of mushy stuff that used to look like flower bulbs.

Over the past few days, I have received a lot of comments and questions about all the “mushy stuff” in gardens. So, for all you “southern bulb/heirloom bulb enthusiasts”, here you go….

First, and foremost, do not cut back the damaged bulb foliage. I repeat….DO NOT CUT THE FOLIAGE. Yes, it is mushy and gross. Yes, it makes your garden wonderland look like a train wreck. Yes, you really, really, REALLY want to cut it all back….. but don’t. Put the scissors away and don’t cut anything. If you have weak impulse control (like I do), simply avoid that part of the garden altogether and don’t look at it for a week or so. The foliage will dry up as it sends the nutrients back into the bulb. You will find a distinct line of green foliage under the damaged foliage. The bulb knows exactly where to cut off the damaged foliage, focusing on the healthy foliage. All foliage is the energy for next year’s flower. If you cut early, you might cut some of the “good stuff” needed for a beautiful flower. That would be bad…… 🙂

It has been almost a week since the ice. The Oxblood Lilies, Summer Snowflakes and Rain Lilies are almost completely restored. The damaged foliage is dried up and the green foliage is thriving. The Spider Lilies, Star of Bethlehem, Hyacinths, Starflower, Saffron and Sternbergia handled the ice like winter champs, and were not damaged at all. The Iris foliage was burnt and discolored, but nothing repulsive like the Crinum and some varieties of Paperwhites and Daffodils, which are still a complete mushy and downright disgusting mess. The Lady Tulips are just laying on the ground sulking, like the way most Southern ladies felt in the storm. These particular bulbs can’t decide whether to be an over-dramatic eye-soar like the Crinum, or stand up tall and proud like the Byzatine Glads, which took the storm in stride. I have yet to see any signs of life with the Dwarf Crinum…..fingers crossed for survival. Some of the Daffodils and a few varieties of Paperwhites still managed to bloom horizontally, as they lay frozen on the ground. Kinda fascinating.

I am still hoping for some random spring bulb blooms, but alas, I think the shock of the ice and freezing temperatures will cause the bulbs to think twice about their spring bloom. I will definitely keep you posted.

Happy Gardening, my friends! Remember….patience is the key to bulb success. Don’t cut that mushy stuff!!!!