Columbia Star

Dead Daffodils—Could Mother Nature be trying to tell us something?

Tammy Davis

Tammy Davis

This time of year my daffodils look awful. The happy yellow flowers are long gone. The stems that were so fresh and green look like wet, brown tissue paper. There is nothing attractive or hopeful about the mess we’re dealing with right now.

It’s tempting to cut the dead leaves away, but my gardening friends tell me not to do that. They say the ugly stage is important. The problem is nobody wants to look at a dead daffodil.

Back when I had more time on my hands, I bundled the decaying leaves, secured them with rubber bands and tucked it all under pine straw. Out of sight, out of mind.

This year, I never got around to it so everywhere I look I see floppy, faded stems. Not a happy sight.

My daffodil plants that had been a symbol of hope earlier in the year now look downright pitiful. Instead of a sunshine flower, they seem more like a dark cloud of doom.

Maybe Mother Nature wants to use the little plant that gave hope and encouragement in February to teach a different lesson in April and May. Maybe, there’s a time for blooms and there’s a time for blah.

If the gardening experts are correct, daffodils need the recovery stage. It would make sense it’s the same with us. We have times when we are in full bloom, and we have times when we are completely dormant. And like our little daffodil friends, sometimes we need to heal and recover.

Rather than trying to hide our problems under pine straw, what if we accepted good times come and good times go? Same with the bad. Hopefully, our ugly stages won’t last forever.

Who wouldn’t love to be a bright spot every day? But that’s not a very realistic goal.

I’m no botanist, but it sounds like flowers use the nutrients of their decaying leaves to ensure big, beautiful blooms the following year.

What if our dormant times are getting us ready for something wonderful coming our way?

Maybe Mother Nature is teaching us patience. It seems like forever, but it won’t be long before the ugly brown stage will be complete.

What if she’s teaching us gratitude? Enjoy the blooms because they won’t last long.

My clever gardening friends include lots of flowers in their beds. They mix their daffodils in with day lilies and iris. The foliage of the lilies and iris help carry them through the dark daffodil days. I think Mother Nature is OK with that gardening hack as long as we don’t lose the lesson.

Embrace every stage of life. A time to every purpose under heaven. Mother Nature is doing her best to help us learn that lesson. We need to pay attention.

Tammy Davis lives in Columbia. She has a weekly column in several SC publications. Visit her website at

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