By Kathy Van Mullekom

Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) (TNS)

It’s always bulb-planting time for gardeners who want flowers year round.

In Poquoson, Va., Master Gardeners plant bulbs each fall at the Poquoson Learning Garden.

The garden features tulips, daffodils, dwarf irises, anemone and crocus.

“A lot of tulips planted in the ground are susceptible to voles and hungry deer,” says Poquoson Master Gardener Noel Talcott.

“All of our tulips have been planted in our empty raised beds, which held vegetables and cut flowers during the gardening season. We have had great success and so far have not had any issues with deer coming in to sample the foliage or blooms.”

Root-eating voles can also bother bulbs, especially tulips, which Talcott recommends planting in pots or raised beds.

“At our home, we layer tulips in large plastic pots, top with soil and plant violas or pansies on top,” he says.

“Then we sink the pots in the ground up to the rim. In spring, the tulips come up through the flowers. After they are finished blooming, we swap out the pots with summer flowers. We put those pots back in the holes and those plants are protected from voles too.”

For planting bulbs, the Master Gardeners use the method recommended by Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

The process is simple: Scrape back any mulch, place the bulbs on the ground and cover with six inches of mulch.

“This method works great in our mulched beds as well as in the raised beds,” says Talcott.

“In the raised beds, we remove about four to six inches of soil, place the bulbs and then cover them with the removed soil. This year we planted most of the crocus in the lawn and they bloomed before the grass started to grow and needed cutting. We will see how well those return next year.”

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