In the Garden

When to plant your bulbs?

Usually I wait until early December to buy and plant bulbs. Well, in the interest of honesty, I should admit that I don’t actually wait. Usually it’s December before I get around to buying and putting in bulbs.

I plant tulips. I think they’re beautiful, and I think they’re well suited to me in part because I really dislike looking at the dying foliage after the bloom fades. Since I don’t try to make tulips go more than one year, I’m free to take them out when I start hating the way they look.

This year, I bought bulbs early which meant, among other things, that I paid full price. But I brushed the idea of the extra money aside as I savored a full measure of smug satisfaction that I was ahead of the game.

I’ve been duly punished.

Chipmunks or squirrels or whatever have been digging up my bulbs every day for the last three weeks. I planted 90 bulbs and, so far, I’ve counted more than twenty empty holes in my tulip bed. Plus, to add insult to injury, frequently my uninvited guests eat only about half the bulb and throw the rest on the ground for me to find. I think if I want any tulips next spring, I’m going to have to buy and plant some more.

Isn’t it enough that they’re also eating all my birdseed?

It is in times like these that I either call someone at the Extension office or go online and see if Virginia Cooperative Extension has a publication that will help me.

Since I finally decided to face this issue on a weekend when, understandably, the office was closed, I went online and found “Flowering Bulbs: Culture and Maintenance” at http://www.ext.vt.edu.

“One of the most popular spring bulbs is the tulip,” says the publication. “Tulips come in all colors except blue.”

My bulbs are pink, white, and pink-and-white, purchased in three different bags. They represent something of a splurge since I normally get the 60-mixed-colors bag that’s left on the markdown counter.

“Selecting quality spring bulbs is very important.” Okay, did that this year. “Size is important: look for plump, firm bulbs.” Check.

“Hardy, spring-flowering bulbs are planted in fall.” Yes. “As a general rule of thumb, bulbs should be planted 2.5 to 3 times the diameter of the bulb in depth.” Yes, I did that.

“If voles are a problem, the bulbs can be planted in baskets made of wire screen to prevent the animals from reaching and destroying them.”

Voles? I have voles. They’re tunneling all over my garden, but do they toss half the bulb up on the surface of the ground?

Have I been falsely accusing my chipmunks?

And, where can I get baskets made of wire screen? Really, if I tell the truth, I don’t think I’m up for wire screen baskets.

I think I’m going to wait until the bulbs go on sale in early December. Then I’ll buy and plant some more. Maybe some bad habits are not that bad after all.
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Community

project:HOMES’ ‘Renew Crew’ helps Henrico citizen


The project:HOMES "Renew Crew" (above) recently assisted an elderly member of the Laurel Presbyterian Church in Henrico by clearing brush, trimming hedges and raking leaves in her yard.

The Renew Crew serves low-income, disabled and elderly homeowners in need of small-scale home repairs such as porch, railing and step repairs, exterior painting, clearing overgrown yards, tearing down outbuildings, wheelchair ramps and other critical repairs and accessibility modifications. > Read more.

Alzheimer’s Walk raises $436,000


More than 2,000 people participated in the the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter's annual Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s Nov. 5 at Markel Plaza in Innsbrook. The event raised more than $436,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support programs and research.

The event is one of three walks that benefit the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Richmond and is held in celebration of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month.

Donations to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be accepted through the end of the year and can be made at http://www.alz.org/walk. In total, the three walks this year have raised more than $644,344. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


The past couple of days haven’t felt like it, but it’s finally December and this weekend is packed with holiday events. Kicking the weekend off is Glorious Christmas Nights’ production of “Finding Christmas” at West End Assembly of God. Gayton Baptist Church’s annual Jazz Nativity starts tonight. Another annual favorite is tomorrow – the tree lighting at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. In search of Christmas concerts? The Virginians Barbershop Chorus will present its annual Christmas Show tomorrow at the Collegiate School and the Richmond Choral Society will perform Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will present the Dominion GardenFest of Lights nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 25 to Jan. 9 (closed Dec. 24-25). This year’s theme will explore "Living Color" and show how the world's kaleidoscope of colors speaks to people, impacts nature and influences culture. Visitors will see colorful translucent butterflies in flight, stained glass-inspired illuminations, sparkling white light transformed into a brilliant rainbow, floating flowers opening and reaching toward “sunlight,” fields of brightly colored blooms waving in the moonlight, illuminated spheres dancing in the sky, among other displays. The event features more than a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. Admission is $5 to $13. For details, visit http://www.lewisginter.org. Full text

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