Tulip bed time story
Back about six weeks ago, when I thought it would be the last decent-weathered weekend, I planted my bulbs for next spring. I ordered bulbs about mid-summer, before there was a chance of them being out of stock. The added bonus was, they were paid for, well before they arrived.
I publish them here now, with "lifted" web photos because by spring I will have lost all record of what I purchased and have absolutely no recollection of what I'd purchased the summer before when I selected them.
2008 Tulip bed in front yard. Ignore the recycling out by the curb. The swath or "river" of grape hyacinths along the driveway does come back every year. I do try to keep the swath clear of bulbs.
Had no idea we'd have at least four more weekends when I could've planted them, but it's over and done with. And the sore knees, legs & back from bending, stretching and kneeling are just starting to feel better now. I bought a fancy bulb hole digger and used that when I could add a couple bulbs in one hole. But there are so many perennials planted in this area, I had to work around and didn't want to disturb too many roots with the bulb hole digger. So I used the "whack & wiggle" method with the garden trowel for most of them. So far, no trouble with squirrels digging them up. The only other natural predator, for this area beside the driveway, is the plow guy. He's scrapped through this bed accidentally in the past.
I learned from reading garden blogs, especially Gardening While Intoxicated, that if you put yourself in the mindset that that tulips are annuals and treat them as such, you'll be a much happier gardener. I believe that whole-heartedly.
2009. I hadn't planted any new bulbs, hence there was less tulips and less color. Ignore the trash can non the curb. Can't figure out why I always take pictures on trash pick up day. As an art director, you'd think I'd stage my photos better.
Previously I had planted bulbs and assumed they'd come back every year. Only the naturalizing ones come back. If any other tulips came back, they were less vigorous growers or wimpier in color or would get a good start and fizzle before there was much of a bloom. I am much more content planting all new bulbs every couple of years and also experimenting with some tulips I may not have ordinarily chosen, since they're only temporary.
There's a small chance of a big gardening magazine coming to shoot small-space spring bulb gardens and I wanted to load up the front tulip strip with good-sized flowers, and color with impact.
Here is what I planted this year:
Ostara Hyacinth - deep porcelain blue florets return annually for renewed beauty.
Estella Rijnveld Tulip - fringed petals combine bright white with flamingo red and touches of green open to 18 cm.
Toronto Tulip - pink flowers sport a tangerine-pink interior. Each bulb produces two stems with multiple blooms.
Spanish Pinkbells - naturalizers multiply easily in shade & every type of soil. Pink flowers are shaped like a broad bell with a flared rim. Each bulb will produce about 12-15 flowers.
Donald Duck Tulip - yellow and red flower was introduced to honor the anniversary of Donald Duck. 12 cm blooms adorned with brown stripes and speckles. Great for naturalizing.
Monsella Tulip - canary-yellow blooms open to dark red painterly streaks. Each bulb produces about three blooms that measure up to 15 cm.
Parrot King Tulip - Light yellow petals, yellow-orange edges offset by an emerald-green midrib. At full maturity, their emerald-green color disappears and a yellow-orange color spreads across the petals, now outlined in red.
Daffodil Rainbow of Colors - As they bloom, the split cups appear yellow, transforming to pink orange as the flowers mature.
Don Quichotte Tulip - pink flowers.
Tom Pouce Tulip - flower colors are long lasting and short, sturdy stems make them ideal in windy or exposed locations.
Golden Parade (Sun Gold) Tulip - golden-yellow blooms.
Guinevere Tulip - pink blooms.
Red Dynasty Tulip (Red Impression) - signal-red blooms.
Halley's Comet Tulip (Oxford Elite) - yellow blooms with flames of deep red.
And a few others:
Purissima - lustrous white blooms.
Towering Prism Tulip (Perestroika) - this enormous bulb - 14cm. or larger - produces a tall (over three feet tall!), chalice-shaped flower with a pink blush, fading into a yellow trim.
Golden Charm Tulip - pure white flowers with a yellow base surrounded by green basal leaves which form a rosette. Good for naturalizing.
Variegated Firespray Tulip - White-edged leaves add beauty after the flowers fade. Stem is topped with three to five bright red blooms, highlighted with a pale yellow base. Multiplies annually.
I think I'm going to like that Halley's Comet tulip the best.