We are getting ready for spring. This week we will plant 3,000 tulip bulbs: pinks, reds, doubles, and parrots. At planting time, the bulbs pretty much look all the same and it could be easy to mix them up. But once they pop out of the soil in spring 2012, each flower is going to be beautiful, and completely unique. I like to imagine the tiny tulip buried inside each bulb while I plant.
We have a 95% bloom rate–pretty impressive! How do we pull this off? A chicken wire bulb cage protects the bulb underground, so hungry mice will leave them alone this winter. We use fencing to deter the deer and woodchucks, as well as a stinky product called Deer Off.
We are also planting 400 grape hyacinth, 300 daffodils, and 200 hundred Spanish blue bells. We bunch in sets of 10, so the actual count won’t seem so crazy!
Most bulbs only put out one single bloom. It is a huge amount of work for that one bloom, and it’s getting cold! But this work is some of the most important work we do all year. Without tending carefully to this planting now, we would have no flowers for you on Mother’s Day and during our early spring markets, when a fresh bloom is so welcome as the last snows are leaving Vermont!
The tulip is a fascinating flower steeped in Dutch history! To learn more, enjoy one of my favorite books:
“Tulipomania : The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused” by Mike Dash