Glorious spring color!

Peony (Paeonia Suffruticosa) Image from Wikimedia, Taken by Fanghong

by Margie Lachman

So many catalogues are arriving to tempt me! Several offer bulbs for fall planting and spring bloom.

In my front garden I have tulips that bloom in April—they have returned for five or six years! They are Darwin hybrids with large flowers and come in many colors. This is the only large tulip that dependably blooms for several years if planted in a favorable place. The spot where they grow has very good drainage, morning sun, and afternoon shade, and the blossoms seem to last for several weeks. What a joy it is to see them each spring with no work on my part! It is important to leave the foliage until it turns brown to feed next year’s flowers.

Peony (Paeonia Suffruticosa) Image from Wikimedia, Taken by Fanghong

In the past I have had problems with some critter eating the bulbs. I solved it by burying a ‘box’ made of galvanized hardware cloth that has been in the ground for 15 years or longer with no rust and still works great to protect my tulips. The widest hardware cloth is four feet. I bought a length about a foot longer than the area and folded the four sides about five inches to form a box, then buried it about six to eight inches deep. The bulbs are planted in the bottom of the box and covered with soil. This only needs to be done once! I have compost spread over the whole garden every spring and that seems to feed the bulbs adequately.

In the back garden I planted some Darwin hybrid tulips along the edge of the deck, and they were beautiful the first year. Sadly, the next spring the buds were eaten by a wild rabbit, so I now have peonies planted there. Rabbits and deer leave them alone because the leaves contain a salt that is a deterrent for these critters. The peonies are growing very happily and are beautiful in bloom and their foliage is lovely all summer and fall. Sometimes we can’t outsmart the animals and we have to adapt.

Now I plant tulips in large pots on my patio and cover the pots with chicken wire to keep squirrels from planting acorns in the soil. Once the foliage expands to cover the soil, I remove the chicken wire. We have to dance a merry dance to keep ahead of Nature!

Western Oregon Dispensary

Questions? Email me at  or leave a message at 503-645-2994

< Previous Article                                                               Next Article >