Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mountain Gardening: Tulip Bulbs

My fall bulb order arrived today. I had a feeling it was coming because my foiler of plans, Mother Nature, was putting on quite a furious winter show.

Gale force winds, rain, sleet. She even threw in a clap of thunder, or two, for good measure.

In spite of all the drama, she's not fooling me. She's not my problem when it comes to bulbs. It's those pesky critters.

They think Tulip bulbs taste just dandy!

And, so this year, I'm making it harder for those little buggers to dine and dash.

I'm surrounding my tulips with daffodils, allium and frittilaria. Rodents hate the smell of these bulbs.

Placing wire mesh over the bulbs generally keeps the critters at bay.

If I'm feeling really energetic, I might mulch some sharp gravel into the soil, too.

This hurts their little paws, so they give up rather quickly.

It also improves drainage. (Up here, in the mountains, our clay soil can get pretty soggy...)

Spring blooming bulbs are ideal for mountain gardens because they only need moisture during bud and bloom. Once done flowering, they're quite content in a waterwise landscape.

Above, that Black Beauty is a Queen of Night Tulip.
Yellow and red is a Monsella Tulip. Together, they are pretty striking. The pink flowers are Replete Daffodils and these big balls are Allium.

October is a great time to plant bulbs in the mountains. While we do get a few days of awful weather, we also get our fair share of perfectly gorgeous cool autumn days. Besides, those early storms are just a happy warning that ski season is about to begin.

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