We (and I suspect most people) don't ordinarily tend to pay much attention to the backsides of flowers, but as these two shots demonstrate, there's still a lot of interest going on behind the front side of the early spring show. Fernymoss took these on a whim over the weekend just to see how they would look from this perspective, and I have to say, from a textural point of view, they are quite attractive in their own right! These angles also really show the structure of the mature flower and just how they're put together.
You can already see the (obviously pollinated) flower's ovary swelling, so I expect this bloom is on its way out and well into the next phase of its reproductive cycle. I've never really let them go too far in this direction and once the flowers are done, I usually just cut them off so the leaves can spend their time storing up energy for next year's show. After last year's disaster when they barely bloomed at all, at least they appear to have weathered the winter relatively unscathed, unlike other gardeners' daffodils. Fernymoss asked his co-worker again about her bulbs today and it appears that most of her tulips perished as well, and those that did come up are doing poorly, just as ours are. *Sigh* I guess we're now resigned to having to replant a bunch in the fall, so we've already been looking at which ones we want to get ... mostly the Olympic Flame, Red, Yellow and Purple Darwins (pretty much what we had before). We'll know more when the ones that did survive manage to bloom, but they're looking really unhappy and stunted, so what usually is a really bright show in the front garden is going to be rather bittersweet this year.
One note about Daffodils: I have noticed in past years that a lot of people just mow them down once they're done blooming, which is a truly idiotic thing to do ... (People also do this to peonies, which really gets me wagging the finger and lecturing!). Just let them die back when they are ready and just pull them out of the ground when they've pretty much dried up. I once saw Martha Stewart suggest braiding the leaves to get them out of the way and still let them store up energy. Nice idea, Martha, but honestly, what gardener has the time to spend braiding them when there are more important things to be done in the garden! And when you have upwards of a couple hundred bulbs planted ... it would just become an absurdly impractical thing to do. We prefer to just let them complete their own natural cycle, which might be the lazy gardener's way, but it's always worked for us!
Photos by Fernymoss, taken on 26 April, 2008 using the S700.