Protecting tulip bulbs from squirrels

Cover your tulip patch with chicken wire to protect the bulbs from scavengers.

We had a break in the cold weather this weekend, so I took the opportunity to plant the last of my bulbs. I planted 21 bulbs of two different species tulips, two hyacinth bulbs, and six double narcissus (daffodil) bulbs. I’m not a big fan of daffodils, but the double ones have an intriguing look and they come up earlier than tulips, so I thought I would give them a try this year. Also, the squirrels don’t eat them, so that’s a plus. I planted 120 tulip bulbs earlier this fall and I wouldn’t be surprised if our local squirrels ate 60 of them.

Since these tulips were more expensive, I wanted to protect them. I snipped an area of chicken wire to cover the space where I had planted the tulip bulbs, then lay it on the ground. I weighed down the edges with rocks (see the super-attractive photo above) and covered it with leaves I raked up a few weeks ago (aka “free leaf mulch”).

In the past, I’ve buried the chicken wire underground, but it was nearing sunset when I planted this set so I didn’t bother.  Even so, I have a feeling that the squirrels won’t be able to burrow their way under this chicken wire.

I went a bit wild with bulbs this year because Aldi’s was selling bags of them for $5 or $6 in September. Each bag had 40 crocuses, 30 Darwin tulips in assorted colors, or 20 alliums. So of course I had to buy lots of them for continuous spring color.  The total bulb count this year  is 141 tulips, 80 crocuses, 20 alliums, six daffodils and two hyacinths.

I bought bulbs at Aldi’s last year as well and was very pleased with what came up this spring – lots of reds and yellows among the tulips, which reminds me of my childhood in the Netherlands. Unlike many of the hybrid tulips, Darwins are supposed to come up for a few years before they peter out. But I plan to keep planting more each year because I can never have enough tulips!

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