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Let Bulb Leaves Brown

By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The long garden slog from late spring to summer includes the languishing leftover leaves of bulbs. It's the least attractive feature of growing tulips and daffodils but very necessary; the bulbs need the nutrition from the leaves to flower next year! The leaves absorb energy from the sun and turn it into food that gets sucked down into the bulb after blooming. That's why you have to let the leaves lie around until they've browned. Once they do, it's your cue that there's no more food in the leaves, so you can clear them away.

I've seen the bulb leaves hang around well past the Fourth of July in years gone by, but this year most of mine browned by mid-June. Good for the bulbs and good riddance - things always look tidier when they're gone.

So, if you haven't cleared the browned bulb foliage from your gardens yet, it's a quick chore you can do now while taking a little tour of your gardens to check for blank spots you might want to fill in with a few annuals or perennials too.

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