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 12/16/2013
Virginia Blood Services (VBS), the sole supplier of blood for more than 20 hospitals throughout the state of Virginia, is in need of blood donors to help replenish the local blood supply over the holidays.
A decline in blood donations is typical during the winter months as people become busy with holiday activities and travel. Patient needs remain steady, however, making it important for people to visit a VBS donor site or mobile drive to give blood. > Read more.
In Varina, one of the most anticipated events of the season is approaching. The 19th Annual Big Toy Parade will return on Dec 14, offering a “homey,” small-town feel that helps elicit holiday spirit among participants and spectators alike.
The parade, which begins at 3 p.m., is sponsored by the Battlefield Ruritans and Henrico County Parks and Recreation and is held in conjunction with the James River Boat Parade. It is led by a grand marshal along Old Osborne Turnpike and ends at the Osborne Boat Landing, where hundreds of community members gather to await nightfall and the arrival of lighted boats, concluding a festive holiday celebration. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 12/03/2013
The region's two premier youth soccer organizations – the Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers – have partnered to create Richmond United, a cost-free U.S. Soccer Development Academy program designed to serve the most talented players in the region. The arrangement marks the first time in U.S. Soccer Development Academy history that two member clubs have united their respective Academy programs.
Slated to begin play in the fall of 2014, Richmond United will field U13/14, U15/16 and U17/18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. The teams will train and play home games at two of the top soccer specific complexes in the nation, Ukrop Park and Striker Park. > Read more.
It’s the final weekend before Christmas – but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare! Relax with half-a-million twinkling lights, enjoy Theatre IV on Tour’s production of “A Christmas Carol” or experience the 11th annual “Miracle of Christmas – Live at the Metro Richmond Zoo.” Another way to relax before the Big Day is with a good book. You can find a vast array of books, covering many genres, and meet authors at the Celebrate with a Book event on Saturday. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
A number of Henrico students are performing in the Richmond Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, which runs through Dec. 23. Pictured above, left to right are: back row – Elizabeth Sjovald (Mother Ginger), Deema Meguid, Maya Link (Mogi top) and Sophie Rounds (Mother Ginger) and front row – Sarah Echols (Chinese) and Carter Echols (Chinese). > Read more.
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