Mouse In The Tulip Box

There are many lessons about bulbs I could teach you — designing, sourcing, and planting, but I think you’ll really appreciate this one — learned first hand by yours-truly, the hard way.

Last fall, I planted 100 tulip bulbs at my house, and about 1000 at my clients' homes. I love tulips — there are so many varieties and colors — I go crazy with happiness…:-) 

By December, I still had a few boxes of leftover varieties — 15 in this box — 9 in that box, etc. My plan was to plant the leftovers in pots with a loose design aesthetic — meaning no design…:-) Because the cold hit us early in Portland, I was dragging my feet to pot them up, so out in the garage they sat, where it was cold.

Photo by Stephen Bolton

Photo by Stephen Bolton

Then one night, early December, I heard rustling noises in the garage — yikes! I called to our kitty Gwendolyn, but she was in the house snoozing in her favorite spot. I quickly slammed and locked the kitchen garage door. My husband Fred was at a gig, but I texted him — no response — fart. I was freakin’ out, but then what could he do? I would have to wait it out…

Move forward a couple of months to Sunday, February 7th — beautiful, sunny low 50 degree day in Portland — absolutely gorgeous! I decided it was a good day to putter in the garden and organize the garage. I still had the boxes of leftover tulip bulbs and some looked in perfect condition — but didn’t I have a bunch more? 

Then I saw it…black droppings — yikes, mice!! I don’t know why, but mice scare the be-jeepers out of me. Maybe it’s because they have those long skinny tails and scurry about at lighting speed. 

I canvassed the space — opened the cupboards — oh my, what a site I would see and smell! I’m not sure how many there were. They shredded plastic, cardboard, and dried leaves for bedding. I also had tender perennials wintering-over in the garage and a wheelbarrow of mulch keeping dry. They had a lot to work with — and tulip bulbs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! They had everything they could ever want — it was their dream come true!

Purple fringe and peony-like tulips nesting in a bed of violet violas. Design & Photo by Holly Stickley

Purple fringe and peony-like tulips nesting in a bed of violet violas.
Design & Photo by Holly Stickley

I was astonished at how much havoc they could wreck. It took a few hours to clean up the mess. We took everything out of the garage and washed the cupboards and concrete floor with a bleach/water solution. We found the hole in the floor that they were coming through, and blocked it off with a brick. So far so good, no signs as of today.

What really makes me mad, is that I can’t believe how dumb I was — I know how rodents love bulbs! When I plant, I dip every single bulb in a rodent repellant solution.

Well, that’s my bulb lesson for this season. Don’t make the same mistake that I did! 

To end on a pretty note… I’m looking forward to seeing tulip beauty very soon — can’t wait!

Love, Holly ~
Your Queen Bee at The White Pear