Q: Our daffodils were in full bloom along with a magnolia tree when the weather got cold. Now the daffodils are limp and lying on the ground and the magnolia tree has dropped all of its floral petals. Did this cold weather kill our plants?
M. S. of Belleville
A: Your daffodils and other spring bulb plants should recover and not be hurt at all because their origin is from mountainous areas. Their sap is somewhat slimy and this serves an anti-freeze for the plant. If you cut the daffodils for an indoor arrangement, you will notice after time that this slime will slowly drain down into the water in the container.
With the magnolia tree, the flowers are finished and will not recover. Sometimes, if the cold weather is harsh as it was this spring, there can be some dieback on the stems as well. But the cold spell should not kill either the daffodils or the magnolia tree.
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Things to do this week:
Remove old asparagus and rhubarb tops and side-dress the plants with nitrogen fertilizer or dried manure.
Remove also the weak, diseased, or damaged canes from raspberry plants before new growth begins. Remove the old fruiting canes if they were allowed to overwinter, and shorten canes if necessary.
Charles Giedeman is a local contributing writer. Send your gardening questions to Lifestyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.