Can You Guarantee My Bulbs Will Grow?

By Karen W. Kovacs

Photo by quicksilver_
The last time I recall thinking about “culture” as a verb dates back to a biology lab and brings back memories of petri dishes, bacteria, pipettes and writing a lab report. I had not thought about “culture” in terms of the action describing my ability to grow or cultivate a plant until I started searching for dahlias to purchase for my flowerbeds.

Used in the context of eradicating polio and the Plants to End Polio world-wide fundraising effort, to culture a seed or bulb means to first order bulbs through this site, plant them and provide everything they need to grow.

As you daydream about late summer and fall blooms in your garden or landscape design, remember that now, spring, is the time to get those summer flowering bulbs ordered so that they will be planted in time to fulfill your visual fantasy.

Guess what? Brent & Becky’s Bulbs have made culturing super easy for anyone, including those of you fearful that you may not have a green thumb. You can check out their Summer Flowering Bulbs Cultural Instructions on their website. Then look through the catalogue and start making your list.

Highlights from Brent & Becky’s suggestions include first and foremost that since “there are no absolutes in nature or horticulture,” try not to go against Mother Nature. Choose bulbs or plants that will almost certainly work in your area to give you a head start on the most success. They describe which plants grow best in your geographic zone.

Improve your soil. Get it right. Get it good. This is the most cost effective step to assure gardening success. And they give tips for how to do that.

Familiarize yourself with the needs of the bulbs, tubers or rhizomes that you want to order. Some can be planted immediately; others need to wait for warmer soil or can be planted indoors. Hints are printed next to each plant.

Finally, consider applying a slow release fertilizer after planting. If your soil is well amended, you may not need to fertilize. They even make a recommendation for a specific product that has worked well for them so that you don’t have to guess or do more research.

There is no time like the present to get started. I had complete success in my first endeavor to force bulbs this winter ~100% success~ and they were beautiful. Now that I know some of these growing recommenations, I’m mixing and adding to my compost pile in between trying to decide which dahlias will make my order list. And though no one can guarantee that your plants will grow, the tips and hints from Brent & Becky’s certainly help.

Remember, 25% of the purchase price of your order will be donated to End Polio Now when you designate Gloucester Point Rotary Charitable Foundation through the Bloomin’ Bucks program. And then that contribution gets matched 2:1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, so your $100 order means $75 goes to help eradicate polio ($25 from Blooming Bucks + $50 from Gates Foundation)…and you still end up with 100 bucks worth of cultivars to cultivate!

Author Karen W. Kovacs is a member of the Gloucester Point VA Rotary Club. You can help eradicate polio by making a purchase at or with a contribution to Gloucester Point Rotary Charitable Foundation (Plants to End Polio) P.O. Box 421 White Marsh, VA 23183.

Buy a Plant. Heal the World. Our Story in a Slideshow.

By Karen W. Kovacs


We wanted a creative way to tell the world about our efforts to help eradicate polio and reach an audience of gardeners and plant lovers who may purchase bulbs from our internationally acclaimed local business partner, Brent & Becky’s Bulbs.

Consociate Media created some incredible graphics to help tell folks about the project and turned them into a slideshow that we have been able to share all over the world.

Click here to view the Plants to End Polio Slideshow.

The fast pace of most people’s daily lives meant that a lot of information needed to get packed into a small amount of time and space. We dream that the Plants to End Polio project will cross international boundaries with social media sharing.

This is not a typical fundraiser. No tickets get bought. No extra cash other than what the buyer had intended to spend on bulbs or plants or gifts gets spent.

Just by designating Gloucester Point Rotary Charitable Foundation through Brent & Becky’s Bloomin’ Bucks, their business donates 25% of the purchase price to help eradicate polio. And what’s amazing, too, is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation then matches that donation 2:1!

An $80 purchase translates to a $60 contribution to the Global Polio Eradication Effort. That means that by 2018, we anticipate very few incidences of the vaccine preventable disease that results in devastating paralysis. And every year when your bulbs bloom, you can appreciate that you played a role in ending polio.

Author Karen W. Kovacs is a member of the Gloucester Point VA Rotary Club. You can help eradicate polio by making a purchase at or with a contribution to Gloucester Point Rotary Charitable Foundation (Plants to End Polio) P.O. Box 421 White Marsh, VA 23183.

What Happens When Polio is Eradicated?

By Karen W. Kovacs


2018. The year we anticipate polio will likely be gone, done, finished ruining so many lives of innocent young children. Through ongoing vaccination programs and close monitoring, the incidences of devastating paralysis that occur from this vaccine preventable disease will be few and far between.

Hard to believe that only 30 years ago, the crippling virus was rampant worldwide.

The infrastructure put in place through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is already being used to meet broader health needs. These include providing other health services like deworming tablets, Vitamin A (a deficiency increases the risk that a child may die from such diseases as measles and diarrhea), and bed nets as well as responding to health and environmental disasters like meningitis outbreaks, flooding and tsunamis.

The current polio eradication strategy is set up to deliver a polio-free world by 2018 through its four-pronged approach: 1) routine immunization, 2) supplemental immunization, 3) surveillance to identify cases of polio, and 4) a mop-up campaign which includes door-to-door immunization in areas where the virus is suspected to still be circulating.

The leadership and vision to take on polio eradication led to the development of an extensive infrastructure for improving the health and lives of so many people around the world, now and in the future. The possibilities are probably only limited by the imagination of those seeking ways to provide better health, sanitation and living conditions for people all over the world.

The Gloucester Point Rotary Club expects the Plants to End Polio project to stay in place for a long time, too. The name will simply evolve once polio is gone. As people who love to garden and buy plants continue to designate the Gloucester Point Rotary Charitable Foundation to receive a donation from Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, the far-reaching impact beyond polio eradication remains to be seen.

The generosity of Brent & Becky’s Bulbs Bloomin’ Bucks campaign to offer a contribution to our charitable foundation means that when folks purchase bulbs and plants that were going to get bought anyhow, we are able to help improve the lives of people around the globe. Hats off to this company’s efforts to make the world a better place.

Author Karen W. Kovacs is a member of the Gloucester Point VA Rotary Club. You can help eradicate polio by making a purchase at or with a contribution to Gloucester Point Rotary Charitable Foundation (Plants to End Polio) P.O. Box 421 White Marsh, VA 23183.