Fall Leaves And The All You Can Eat Tulip Buffet

The views are breathtaking; the air, cool and crisp. This year the ice and snow that traditionally love to nip at the heels of fall have stayed at bay a little longer. So the trees have put on an outrageous show. The displays of crimson, orange and ochre have made it the most gorgeous fall I have ever experienced. Streets lined in maples, ashes, ginkgos and burning bushes have each street corner and tree seeming more beautiful than the next.

Days like this are fleeting so I have been out walking and savoring the beauty. Trying to photograph and capture just a piece of this vibrant color parade. The leaves rustle in the wind and a leaf takes flight swirling towards the ground. Reminding you how delicate this view is.

A view from the botanical gardens

Falling leaves also mean it’s time to start planting for spring. As the temperatures have dropped and frosty days draw near, my girls and I set out to plant spring bulbs. We cleaned out the flowers beds from the last of the summer flowers and dug deep trenches. We carefully planted beds full of bulbs. Winter is coming but what I love about tulips is how hopeful they are. When it’s still too cold to venture out into the garden their bright green leaves pop from the ground. A beacon and sure sign that warmer flower filled days are near.

However, as soon as we finished planting nearly 200 bulbs the insatiably hungry neighborhood squirrels were out to investigate. Had they been watching us? Were they dreaming of an all you can eat tulip buffet? I caught a cheeky and curious few checking out my newly planted beds and the moment I opened the door to investigate they immediately sprinted across the street to the neighbor’s yard. The looks on their faces seemed to say “who me?” So I took to the garden with a bottle of red pepper flakes hoping the spicy topping might send my squirrels looking for another meal, but I may have to get some chicken wire to make sure they don’t come back looking for a tasty snack.

When I was looking for ways to keep my squirrels from digging in the flower beds I came across an article where the White House gardeners had similar frustrations. It seems those D.C. squirrels were an especially savvy crew, so as a last ditch effort to save the tulips the gardeners began setting up feeding boxes hoping that providing an alternative meal plan would solve the problem. However, the ultimate winner was definitely the squirrels. Once word got out that there was food it was like an out of control high school party. It turns out that those tulip loving squirrels had friends.

So what is a flower loving girl to do? The red pepper flakes seem to be working for now, but squirrels in my yard beware I will not be falling for the alternative buffet plan. These fall days may be numbered, but as the view changes I am already planning for spring.

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