This quick tutorial on getting your tulips ready for next season is something I first posted on BCLH’s Instagram account. Please follow me there!
Did you know it helps your tulips if you dig them up in spring and replant them in the fall?
Preparing tulips for a beautiful garden begins when this year’s flowers have withered and you have the seedpods left on the stems. Deadhead them! Chop off the seedpods unless you’re cultivating for seeds, in which case you probably know what you’re doing (or else: do your research). Deadheading puts the plant’s energy back towards the bulb. For other flowers, it puts energy towards more flower production.
Leave the tulips for another week or so, and then dig them up (carefully). Keep them sorted by colour if at all possible! You’ll find that the bulbs have likely multiplied into smaller ones. (Dig deep, and carefully).
Then sort them without taking the vegetation off. Some will come off anyway; compost it. Those that are just bulbs: put them in a cool, dry place, away from fruit. The cold cellar for me! Those that have vegetation: let them sit in another location, preferably still daylit, until the greens dry out.
Small numbers can be stored with their withered greens which will brown and crumble in time; this large batch (last photo) I will cut from their stems and leaves and store with the others in the cold cellar. Tulips need the cold.
Come Canadian Thanksgiving (mark your calendars!), dig deep into your lawn or flower beds and plant them anew. Cover the flower beds to prevent the squirrels from digging them out – they go for fresh dig sites!
I’ll plant the smallest bulbs in plant pots to see if they come up with blooms in the spring. If so, they make a nice gift. If not, they’ll grow bigger for the following year.
I hope, coming next spring, you’ll be greeted by even more tulips than this year.
In April 2017, news got around about the first bee to land on the US endangered species list: Bombus affinis, commonly known as the Rusty Patched bumble bee. It has a, well, rusty patch on its back. It’s endemic to North America, which means its range is only North America – and not all parts, either. Rusty-patched bumblebees have been decimated nine times over – that’s 90% – from earlier population counts.
Also — bumble bee, bumblebee — it doesn’t matter which one you use. So I use both!
Bumblebees are important pollinators of native and fruiting crops. In some crops, the flowers need the particular buzz of the bumblebee to shake the pollen loose – they aren’t going to give it up for just any old insect!
Do you hate mowing the lawn? Holy cow, I used to. We had a lawn that was half the size of a football field, and I spent many hours doing it. It’s not a hobby. And loads of gasoline spilled, actually. It kills the grass, but the grass comes back after a week or two.
It’s been on my todo list for a few weeks to build a couple of bird houses with the scrap wood I have leftover from other projects and so finally I did the job JUST IN TIME for spring migration.
In fact, almost too late – except that some species breed more than once. Those birds who are have been sticking around or arriving earlier already have young, and and some just arriving are getting ready to find a nest box. AND that’s what I’m going to provide!
And so can you. Do it this weekend!
Resource: NestWatch’s All About Birdhouses has everything you need to know about different birdhouses and nest boxes for different types of birds, and also how to set them up with a nest camera!
Cornell Lab of ornithology
I turned this into a new kind of post called a Portfolio post. I decided it was a nice way to do it with a picture gallery, and I could create a series of DIY projects that way. Go check it out. It’s called “Using Old Wood To Build A Birdhouse.“
Leave a comment if you do get this project under way / done. I’d love to see the results!
This is a long-running “lifestyle” blog about the pleasures of living like a farm kid in an urban context. You’ll find a wide range of topics that pertain to food, crafts, energy efficiency, and DIY. There’s a big focus on ecology and wildlife because this has brought me a lot joy – but this is also the greatest potential we have of restoring some balance to nature where we live.
Given that, I’ve turned my attention to providing more content for people to switch traditional lawns over to native landscaping and green driveways and things that will support climate readiness, drought and flood-prevention, and increased habitat for biodiversity. Comments and questions are welcome!
If you’re in the Montreal region, you can also use my “Rewilding” service to landscape your property using native plants, convert to a green driveway, and prevent your windows from killing birds.
My mission is to engage you to appreciate ecological resilience and encourage you to take steps to live closer to the land. I want people to increase the beauty, biodiversity, and climate-change readiness our towns, cities, and regions. That begins with homeowners, small business owners – people who own property. Change the way we typically do things, and we change the world.