Daffodils are bringing their cheery demeanor to gardens now. They have a short vase life of 4-5 days but this can be extended by putting cut daffodils in cold water (chilled with ice blocks) or using a preservation solution.
They are best in a vase on their own, but if you want to mix them in a vase with other flowers, first soak them in water for 24 hours. Daffodil sap is toxic to other flowers and soaking eliminates the sap. Don’t cut the stems again, as this with release more of the toxic sap.
Cutting stems of daffodils and other narcissus is actually good for your bulbs as it will help them grow larger and produce more blooms next year. If you let seed pods form, your bulbs will stay small and may not flower very well next year as the plant will put its energy into making seeds instead of growing by division. Cutting flowers will also save you from a lot of late spring deadheading duties.
Most New England gardeners prune roses from around the first week of August up to the first week of September.
Be sure your secateurs are sharp and dip them in disinfectant or methylated spirits between each rose bush.
To help control black spot and mildew you can spray your roses straight after pruning with lime sulphur and a fortnight later with copper oxychloride. Collecting fallen leaves from rose bushes will also help control black spot by preventing the spores from overwintering in the soil and is a good approach for those who choose not to spray. Burn or bin the leaves; don’t compost them.
Deciduous ornamental trees are best pruned before the buds start to swell. This allows more time for the tree to recover before the sap starts to flow and the buds break open. Also, at this time of year the overall branch structure is easy to see, and most insects and disease-causing organisms are not active.
Remember not to prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees at this time, as you will prune off the flower buds!