Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
November, 2001
Regional Report

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An eye-catching tulip display in the District of Columbia, a city known for its spring beauty.

Tulipomania Hits Home

Tulipomania struck seventeenth century Holland in a big way. Fortunes were made and lost trading in tulip bulb futures, gambling on the beauty-to-be of bulbs not yet planted. We still trust in the future blooms of tulip bulbs, but thank goodness we no longer have to risk a fortune -- and the bulb producers are careful to provide us with reliable bulbs. So planting a tulip bulb is about as fool proof as you can get with gardening, except for one little thing.

Critters Love Tulips

Tulips are a big gamble at my house because planting them is an open invitation to the chipmunks and voles and squirrels to hop on over and dine gourmet style on the plump bulbs. They discover the disturbed soil immediately and remove the bulbs just as soon as I turn my back.

Sometimes they move bulbs to save for later, then forget where they buried them. These relocated tulips pop up in odd corners of the garden, always a cheerful surprise the next spring. This is not say I see them bloom, however. The deer and bunny rabbits find these special treats and nip them off just as the spring buds begin to swell. This nonsense was enough to make me stick with daffodils year after year.

Planting Tulips

I won some tulip bulbs this fall and so, with nothing to lose, I planted them. I dug a broad hole, loosened the soil below to promote easy rooting and mixed in a little bulb food. I planted those tulips pointy end up with a little hint of a twist to make sure they were securely nestled in the soft earth. I replaced the soil and watered them.

My Secret Weapon

Then I covered the spot with chicken wire, cut to size and hidden flat beneath the mulch. As far as I know, those bulbs are still there, rooting and growing, safe for now from the hungry hordes. I'll worry about the deer and bunnies next spring.

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