Ensuring Healthy Bulbs

Credit: Mary Le Patourel

As odd as it may sound, Janet Fraser protects her wonderful collection of bulbs with the aid of what she calls “nasty fallout” from a used vacuum cleaner bag. The trick is to ensure a good quantity of animal hair in the contents. This method is “guaranteed to discourage the most aggressive squirrel,” she claims. Here is Janet’s recipe for healthy bulbs:

• If you can afford to, bypass the packages of “budget bulbs.” They are invariably smaller, make less of a show, and take longer to develop their potential. Hand-pick your bulbs from the bin of the best.

• For dramatic effect, always plant 10 bulbs in a bunch, rather than planting just a few here and there.

• After digging holes for each bulb using a bulb auger, make a nest on the bottom of each hole with the contents of a full vacuum bag. Be sure that there’s plenty of animal hair in the mix. (If you don’t have a pet of your own, you may need to enlist the help of a neighbourly dog or cat owner.)

• Next, add a generous helping of bone meal to promote root growth.

• Plant the bulb and add a top dressing of vacuum cleaner contents. Follow with blood meal on top.