Thoughts And Ideas
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Thoughts And Ideas

Fall Garden Chores — 1 — Bulb Planting

Rabbit wire, Tin snips, bulbs. Photo by Louise Peacock

I love to see the Tulips, Daffodils and other Spring bulbs in April and May. So do the Squirrels. Actually, the Squirrels like to dig them up in the Fall and destroy any chance of Spring colour!

Bicolour Tulips provide much a needed colour boost in the Spring.

So, I have a long-running battle with the Squirrels in which I employ various methods of bulb protection.

One helpful tactic is to wrap the bulbs in black tree netting before planting. This means that even if they DO manage to dig up the bulbs, they will not be able to get at them. The tree netting however, is really annoying to work with, attaching itself to buttons and zippers and other bits of outerwear. It is also a lengthy process. You have to cut out squares or rectangles of the netting, place the bulbs on the cut netting, then gather up the edges and secure them. This is no fun when your fingers are freezing.

Since the squirrels are vegetarians (except for the small red ones …) sprinkling a generous amount of Bloodmeal over the bulbs before covering them with earth can help to deter them.

Something that puts off all wildlife is Moth balls. Sprinkling a few moth balls over the new planting can also help protect your bulbs…until the first big rain… after which you will have to add more mothballs.

Last year, neither netting, moth balls or blood meal seemed to keep the bulbs safe. Disappointed clients reported dug up and completely destroyed sets of bulbs.

A gardening acquaintence suggested wrapping the bulbs in Rabbit wire before planting them in the designated hole. I pooh poohed this idea, feeling that the Rabbit wire would be awful to work with. How would I bend it and how would I cut it?

Well, I thought, might as well give it a try …I bought a role of Rabbit wire, some tin snips, and some blood meal and of course, the bulbs.

On the left, wire wrapped packages of Daffodil bulbs, on the far right packages of Tulip bulbs. Near the roll of Rabbit wire, the snips, a ready-to-package bunch of bulbs, and a piece of wire netting ready to be filled with bulbs. Photo by Louise Peacock

After a while, got a bit of a process happening: unroll enough wire so I could place my feet on it to keep it from rolling up again, roll out enough so I could snip along beside the foot on the roll side, snip, remove cut piece, place bulbs on it, roll it up quickly, and Bingo! a neat, flat package of trapped and wrapped bulbs. It was tiresome, and it took me one hour to package up 80 bulbs in packages of between 5 and 10, but it was a lot less irritating that working with that bird netting!

After they were all packaged, I went and pre-dug all the holes, dropped in the packages of bulbs, added blood meal generously and filled them all in. I added an extra layer of blood meal over each planting.

I am now keeping my fingers crossed…

Daffodils. Squirrels don’t like these, but they dig them up anyway. Photo by Louise Peacock.
Frittaleria — skunk odored spring bulb much detested by Squirrels and Rabbits
I love this bulb, but I find that it is temperamental about blooming every Spring. Often, they bloom the first year and thereafter produce lots of smelly leaves, but no flower. Photo by Louise Peacock.
These bulbs showed their faces as soon as the snow first melted in late April. Top left my prize bi-colour Tulip, top right a nice group of dwarf Daffodils, Bottom left a Hyacinth, and bottom right a striped Squill. Photos by Louise Peacock.

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