Carnage in the Tulip Patch

….the hope…..

Hope springs eternal in the hearts of gardeners. In October, we planted 200 tulip bulbs in our door yard (Maine talk for the front yard). I fell to my knees and dug deeply into the soil with my garden trowel. Visions of red and yellow tulips danced in my head. Oh, how lovely they will look bobbing in the spring breeze.  

Winter snows melted away in April. To my surprise, tulips sprouted beneath the snow. Do plants really grow under the snow? Miracles are everywhere. My heart swelled with joy. Soon tulips would shine in the bright spring sun.

One morning I opened the back door and breathed in the warm air. Oh, what a glorious morning. I glanced over at the tulip patch and groaned at the sight.

I called to my husband. “Robert, a deer trampled in the garden. It ate the tulips!”

“Are you sure it was a deer? It could have been a groundhog,” he responded.

I ran over to the garden and saw hoof marks that sank into the soft soil. The deer had sheared off dozens of plants and dug up some bulbs. I visualized the rampage occurring while I slept blissfully in my cozy bed.

…the reality…

Anger overtook my thoughts. Somehow, I would save the remnants growing bravely in the soil. I tried an organic repellent that was “effective and long lasting.” The nasty odor would turn away deer, rabbits, and even elk. I mixed the powder concentrate in water and used a special sprayer to douse the plants. Within an hour, my hands were covered with a brown stain. I did not care. I would defeat the invader.

The next morning, I eagerly looked at the garden. The deer had returned and lopped off more tulip tops. It seemed to enjoy the smell. Only a dozen plants remained. What was my next battle tactic? Just then I noticed a small blue tarp near the barn. That’s it! At night I covered the remaining plants and removed the tarp in the morning. Evidently, I skunked the deer. They could not figure out how to get under the plastic cover.

I guess gardeners must be grateful for what pittance enemy forces allow us to have in our war chest.  After all, 12 flowers out of 200 isn’t so bad.

Note to groundhogs. Tasty lettuce leaves will be out in the garden soon.

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