from Jeanne: “…could you post a picture of muscari? I don’t know what that flower looks like.” Here it is, not the best photo because it was after a freezing night and they got a little zapped.

muscari
muscari grape hyacinth

Jeanne’s comment and advice on tulips and red pepper: “… I would wear gloves to handle the red pepper seeds, even dried. Mask is probably over kill, and would arouse the suspicions of passersby. But if you use ground hot pepper–go with the mask. Better safe than sorry! (And another thought–how many years do you think red pepper is going to work? I bet those moles and voles will have a yummy lunch of tulip bulbs in two or three years!)”

tulip bulb
tulip bud

My friend David had the same reaction about how long hot pepper would last in the soil. And I have the same cautious attitude toward using red pepper! I stopped over at the bookstore to ask my gardening friend these follow-up questions. She said she buys cheap red pepper powder and puts it in a big bowl, and coats the bulbs in it–and she said it seems to last fine.

purple tulips
purple tulips May 2007

She said sometimes she also puts any extra pepper in the hole as well. But, in any case, for me tulips usually don’t last more than three years, so I just assume I’ll need to buy some every fall.  I have had  exceptions to this that I can’t explain. A neighbor who for awhile grew flowers professionally to sell at the town florist once brought me a whole bushel basket of small tulip bulblets she had left over from thinning hers. That was ten years ago, and some of those are still coming up and blooming every year–they are blooming right now, in fact. I LOVE tulips, but have been uncharacteristically restrained in the numbers I buy and plant, since so many of the bulbs get eaten. I’ll try the hot pepper trick this coming fall.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. varjedag says:

    I love tulips, and had mine eaten up to many times over the years. 😦
    So last fall I outsmarted, i hope, the squirrels et al by planting the bulbs in containers, I had them in the basement over the winter and brought them out some weeks ago. The little darlings are now up and starting to show their colors. Cheers & Happy May 1!

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