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.
On June 13, the Short Pump Rotary Club partnered with Schnabel Engineering for a day of volunteer work with Rebuilding Together Richmond. Team members (among them [from left] Chris Rufe, Melissa Abraham, Rick Naschold, and Micky Ogburn) completed a variety of repairs and home improvements ranging from painting and landscaping to cabinet installation and fence building.
“It was a privilege to be involved in this project," said club president Melissa Abraham. "The homeowner kept thanking the volunteers, but I think all of us would agree we are the ones who actually benefited. It was an opportunity to help a community member, fellowship with great people and improve our handyman skills." > Read more.
Dr. Even Alexander, a New York Times best-selling author who has been featured on Oprah and Dr. Oz, was in town last week to promote his June 27 talk, "Proof of Heaven," at Glen Allen High School.
Alexander (pictured, at right, while Unity of Bon Air church member Harry Simmons interviews him) has written about what he considers to be his journey through the afterlife.
Tickets to this month's event are $25 and will support the new Bon Secours Hospice House being built later this year. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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