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

“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.

Reynolds CC to host sculptor Paul DiPasquale

Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.

Free children’s clothing for those in need

The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10

Beautiful fall weather is back this weekend! Don’t leave your favorite pooch at home – take the whole family to Canine Companions’ DogFest Walk ‘n Roll at West Broad Village or FETCH a Cure’s annual Mutt Strutt at Deep Run Park. Pets are also welcome at this weekend’s Central Virginia Celtic Festival and Highland Games. Halloween events taking place Sunday include the University of Richmond’s 18th annual Trick or Treat Street and Goblins and Gourds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.


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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will host October Oddities Oct. 1-31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Refresh your “garden spirit” with displays and activities for all ages throughout the month of October. Enjoy vignettes designed to provoke a sense of curiosity and wonder using underappreciated oddities of nature and “horti-torture.” Pick up a Gourd Quest at the admissions desk before heading down to the Children’s Garden. Included with regular admission which is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors 55+ and $8 for children 3-12. For details, visit Full text

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