Deer and Tulips

The English people I know love their gardens, for the most part. They take a lot of time and expense to lavish care on the gardens (we just know them as “yards”). Most gardens are quite lovely too once it gets warm enough to start the trees growing again and the flowers blooming. That’s one reason I think they like the gardens so much, because the growing season is short and when a garden finally blooms, it’s glorious!

I definitely have a nice enough rental house with a very nice garden that I also want to lavish some time and effort on it. It is a learning curve though. Last autumn, I hit the nurseries and found the daffodils and tulip bulbs for sale along with some flowering bulbs I’d never heard of before. SO I got a small bunch of daffodil and tulip bulbs and got them into the ground before winter.

By spring, of course I had forgotten what I planted and where! After all, at best, I am a half hearted part time dark green to black thumb person. But come January, all the nurseries, garden stores, discount plant places and such start bombarding you with incredible offers for bulbs, hanging baskets, trees, fruit trees, shrubs, grass, pots and greenhouses and everything imaginable for the garden. Generally speaking – I want it all in my garden! I want a riot of color! I want fruit, I want nice smells, I want butterflies and nice bees! (OH, mushroom logs too!) so I start getting some bulbs and fruit trees (dwarf ones of course, my garden isn’t THAT big)

By February and March, many people have large swatches of daffodils growing and other early bulbs. Not me. I managed to put mine in a secluded spot so they don’t come up until late March. At least they came up. And as dirt and rocks and pots and plants and bulbs and trees are delivered, I start putting it in the garden. However, even as I am busy puttering around and planting my dwarf fruit trees in containers, here comes a freeze! My gardener (the rental house comes with a gardener who is supposed to take care of the lawn and leaves in fall and weeds and such) tells me that we could get freezing nights well into MAY! I must pay attention to the weather and when it is going to be especially cold at night, I must bring in my dwarf trees that are small enough to sit in the conservatory and cover the rest of the vulnerable plants outside with this gauzy stuff that is supposed to protect it from frosts and makes the other dwarf trees in bigger pots look like triangular sails (and the pots do tend to move around on the deck if the wind is strong enough). And some of my bulbs, I can’t even plant until May because they don’t like the cold at all. wow. what a difference from living in Houston where everything had to be planted by January and was dead by March from the heat!

Now back to the title of my article. Right after I had planted my daffodils and tulips, I was talking to my next door neighbor who informed me that she never plants tulips because the deer eat them. Yes, she was absolutely right! As I am busy planting some anemones and freesias and other bulbs yesterday, I noticed my tulips. I have some nice leaves and some nice stems nicely nipped off close to the ground! NOT A SINGLE TULIP LEFT! I feed the squirrels and birds and hopefully the badger someday and hedgehogs but didn’t really want to feed the deer all of my tulips. Next year, more daffodils, zero tulips.

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