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.
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
HandsOn Day 2015, which will feature 1200 volunteers serving more than 65 nonprofits in Greater Richmond, will take place Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the projects in Henrico or surrounding communities that need volunteers are: installing GardenFest lights Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, distribution center assistance at Feedmore, pumpkin carving with residents at SupportOne, work and play at Housing Families First, paint for independence at Heart Havens, spruce up the shelter and clean sweep at Harbor House at Safe Harbor, pinwheel project at REAP and Kidney Walk prep at National Kidney Foundation Serving VA. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 10/12/2015
Virginians who want to plant beneficial plants for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds have a new resource at their fingertips. The online Virginia Native Plant Finder now lets users search for native plant species that benefit pollinators. The tool, which is managed by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is free and easy to use; searches can be completed on desktops, tablets or smartphones.
Native plants are those that grow where they evolved; they have traits that enable them to adapt to local conditions. The Virginia Native Plant Finder lets users create their own custom native plant lists by selecting from dropdown menus. > Read more.
Growlers to Go has opened its second area location – in Short Pump, next to Trader Joe's.
Unlike the flagship store on the Boulevard in Richmond, this location is equipped with a Tasting Room, offering customers the opportunity to drink pints or tasting wheels as well as order snacks on premises. > Read more.
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ClassifiedsDONATE YOUR CAR, TRUCK OR BOAT TO HERITAGE FOR THE BLIND. Free 3 Day Vacation, Tax Deductible, Free Towing, All Paperwork Taken Care Of. 888-617-1682
CalendarAmerican Legion Auxiliary Unit 125 will hold a Yard Sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Post 125, 1401 Hilliard Rd. Table rental is $10 each. Funds will go… Full text