Tulip Bulb Tips Emerging From the Mulch - March 2020

The very first tips of some of our Spring bulbs have started to poke through the mulch.  This is a tulip bulb in our front beds that are covered with cocoa bean hull mulch.  Which...now that I'm looking at this photo - sure looks pretty great.  The cocoa bean mulch is a rich, dark brown and composed of small flakes that are both breaking down, but not disappearing.  Compare the color to the few pieces of bark/wood that are in the bed and you can see how the color is much deeper in the cocoa bean mulch.

These bulbs are the same ones that I documented last Spring - but later in March.

One of the biggest problems that I have this time of year in this area is keeping these from getting stepped on.  This bed is in between our house and the neighbors whom the girls spend time with.  It is easy to trample these tips if they're not careful.  These are the red and orange tulips that I told myself I needed to augment with yellow.  But...I didn't end up doing it last year.

For tracking purposes in the [garden diary], the orange ones are Double Late Orange Princess Tulips.  And the redish/pinkish ones are Fringed Crystal Beauty Tulips.

As for the mulch, I'm planning on using this Cocoa Bean Hull mulch again in the front beds.  Last year, I used it around a couple of trees and in our main bed, but this year, I'm thinking I can expand the use to be around all of our trees, in all three of the front beds and even around the side of the house.  I mentioned that I might extend the bed in front and if that works out (with a new tree?), then I'll add that area to the cocoa bean mulch order from Hull Farm in Lake Geneva.

If you read my 2020 to-do list, you might have noted that #10 on the list is "Go down the Cocoa Bean Mulch route and expand usage."  So, the mark has been placed here and I plan on scoring this one as a 'go' come the year-end review. 

If you remember last year, I bought my first bag of cocoa bean hull mulch from Menards for $6.99 for a 2 cubic foot bag.  That's about double what a normal bag of hardwood mulch costs.  But, the place where the Menards mulch is made (Hull Farm) was listed on the bag.  It was about 15 minutes away from the Lake House.  I went over there and they were selling the mulch for $3 per bag if you bought 20 bags.  That's more than half off.  This year, one of the weekends we go up there in May, I'll drive  a separate car from Nat and stuff my car full of bags of mulch.  My car will stink of chocolate for days.   

I first saw cocoa bean hull mulch being used at Luxembourg Gardens in Paris and kind of fell in love.  With Lizzie being around, I can't use the stuff in the backyard, but I can use it out front where it is visible to the world.

Last year, I was pretty pleased with this mulch in terms of creating a matted layer that kept the weeds down, retained moisture and looked good.  I had one spot where I was dealing with erosion, but I'm thinking some hardscaping around the downspout will remedy that this season.  I'll post when I put the mulch down in this area as well as in back with the hardwood fines.


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