Our tulips put on a lovely show for weeks. Thanks to all of you for encouraging me to give them a second chance. Years ago I planted a big batch of tulips from Costco and not a single one came up. My friend, Bob, thinks the squirrels made off with them instead.
One of the cool things about keeping a gardening blog is the log. With over a year of blogging, I can refer back to planting schedules, what worked, what didn’t and all the wonderful comments you post. It takes a village to plant an awesome garden. I love that. ♥
Here’s what I’ll be referring to this fall when I buy and chill garden bulbs:
I might try again, but in a different location. They’re stunning, but just didn’t take off.
These will definitely be back next year.
Also a winner, the Passionale tulips were the first up and the longest-lasting.
The not so dirty dozen
I thought I would feel wistful as the tulips faded, but signs of spring are in abundance everywhere. Farewell, garden beauties. Till next year.
Are you seeing signs of spring, too?
Have you ever noticed the beauty of a flower, down under?
I’ve grown to love the view through my camera lens. The narrowed focus and clarity allow me to see things I might miss. Who knew that vibrant purple tulips rise from their stem with a subtle brush stroke of cream. Nature imitating art?
Freesias curl from a chain of looped, waxy stems. Soft yellows fade to white, then splash out an intense magenta. They’re intoxicating too, drawing my nose toward the planter whenever I walk by. I love these colors. I’m dreaming of a summer dress with a yellow bodice and a fuchsia skirt. Surely one of the fashion houses has thought of that.
Look closely. I think this Cyclamen brushed on magenta eye shadow at the start of the day. Too shy to flirt with the world, she keeps this side of her hidden down below.
Cyclamen ‘Eye Shadow’
The Tulip Magnolia sport ‘fingers,’ pulled together as if to wave at passersby (or…let’s face it), the coming and going snails. I love it, warts and all.
Magnolia Tulip Fingers
As I child I liked to view the world from different perspectives. I imagined the house as if everything were upside down. Watching clouds while sprawled on my back connected me to the world in a different way. I probably spent too much time day-dreaming, the hallmark of an introvert though I also craved real-world connections. As an adult, I enjoy both. Human connection and solitude. I’m a social being who craves unfettered time alone. What better place to find it then in the garden, down under.
Today, I was ready! I’ve been enjoying these beautiful tulips putting on a show and wanted to share them with you. I kept missing the chance to grab a picture of their buttery centers. The tulips start to ‘disrobe’ around mid-day, usually when I’m gone. They’re wrapped up snugly first thing in the morning and again by dusk. Aren’t they something?
Tulip opens up
Trio of Beauties
Petite and purple crocus broke ground this week, blooming with sporty stripes and tailored leaves to match They’re small put powerful, and once established, appear year after year. I planted crocus in several pots and as a border under the Acer and around the steps. Next year I’ll be far more adventurous, planting in greater volume. They’re magnificent!
Purple Crocus with Lemony Centers
This lovely should burst on the scene tomorrow, just in time for Blooming Thursday. (No pressure, little flower.)
I’ll close with this luscious number. I don’t remember planting it and don’t know what it is. Suggestions welcome.
The first of the tulips are up, unfurling petals like the strokes of a water-colored canvas. I love the way they look just before they open. Wouldn’t it be fun to peak inside the tightly coiled flower? Do you think they have a secret to tell?
In a few more days they’ll open revealing a colorful, reproductive center. Then quietly, one by one, the petals drop and the tulip is done for the season. If you went on an ill-timed vacation you could miss the whole thing.
I have a dear friend who attends the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival most years. She has several pictures showing rows and rows of growing tulips and a few with her posing among the rows. I have to giggle at my excitement over a pair of tulips, when I think of that sea of flowers. Perhaps I’ll get to go one day, too. For now, I’m enjoying the pair of tulips in the planter on my back steps, marveling at nature’s perpetual beauty.
Ready to spring forth
Tulips Break Ground
Did you hear me squeal with delight?
Tulips are popping up all over the garden. They won’t flower for a little while, but the fact that they’ve survived this long (shh…don’t tip off the squirrels) is amazing.
Last fall I planted three varieties, purchased at a local garden center. They are all sourced from Van Zyverden.
- 15 Tulip ‘Angélique‘
- 15 Tulip ‘Attila‘; and
- 5 Tulip ‘Passionale‘
In other words, the potential for 35 stunning acts of nature. Guess what? I counted over twenty, ground-breaking bulbs! The last time I planted tulips, nothing came up. Zip. Zero. Nada. I’m really liking these odds.
Tulips all Around!
While I had my nose to the earth, I noticed several more bulbs breaking through: Crocus, Narcissus and a few others, to-be-determined when they bloom.
Oh happy day! What’s ‘cooking’ in your garden this Thursday?
Assorted Spring Bulbs Break Ground
Three’s a Charm
When you live in a warm climate like California, it helps to employ a bit of trickery with the tulips. So when I bought three bags of tulip bulbs back in October, the first step was a cool dark rest in the crisper drawer of our fridge. Keeping bulbs in the frigid dark, prompts their DNA into thinking they’ve been through an early chill.
Today I planted about a dozen bulbs along the rock wall near the garden fence, convinced that the racing squirrels overhead were just waiting to dig them up for lunch. I tamped the soil firmly and with determination, hoping they’ll stay planted through early spring. I buried the rest of the bulbs in a variety of pots, and in a few random locations around the garden.
Ready to Plant Tulip Bulbs
Squirrel in the Pittosporum
Squirrel in the Pine
Figuring I could hedge my bets (or chance of survival) by interspersing the bulbs in heavily planted pots, I tucked them deep into the corners and under the canopy of existing plants. I hope they survive the onslaught of the squirrels. They’ll be a magnificent if they do.
While my tulip bulbs are having a good chill in the crisper, I planted a few snowdrops. I only had ten, so I alternated bulbs between pansies in three narrow pots along the walkway. What beautiful displays I would have come spring.
Normally I add a layer of organic mulch, but in my never-ending quest to discourage snacking squirrels, I covered at least half of the pots with rough pea-gravel. I used what I had on hand, left over from a summer project. How I wish I had gone out to buy more!
It was a good, though unintended experiment I suppose.Those rascally squirrels dug up all the bulbs in the soft mulch pots. There was nothing stealth about that heist. They left gaping holes, scattered dirt and a disappointed gardener. The gravel-covered bulbs, however, are still untouched.
Perhaps there is something to the rough texture of the gravel or the extra weight. Maybe it detracts from smell of the tender bulbs buried below. For now, its working. Who knows? Perhaps they dug up the bulbs, so they could hide them somewhere else. I’ll have to wait for spring before I know. I’m pretty sure they ate them.
The tulips have been in the fridge since early October. I’ll plant them in mid-November while the squirrels have their backs turned. This time I’ll be sure to stock up on scratchy gravel ahead of time. Alternatively, I’ll purchase large bags of peanuts as a peace-offering, leaving mounds of them on top of the precious bulbs. It just might work!
Are you planting bulbs this year?
Photo Credit: White Flower Farm
I lovingly perused the Fall Netherlands Bulb Company catalog, then cast it aside. The pages, filled with promise and spring blooms, made my heart ache. Wouldn’t it be glorious having a spring garden filled with exotic blooms? Nothing shouts spring, like a garden filled with crocus, daffodils and tulips. I wrote about my bulb-planting failures in August: Spring Bulbs: To Plant or not to Plant, and received the following encouragement:
Bob J. wrote:
Bulbs are so forgiving, even upside down you will get SOME to twist around and come up. I don’t even bother to refrigerate, and most of mine come up anyway. Maybe you are planting too deep, but you would have to drop them in a well for all of them to fail. My feeling is that something has dug yours up. Probably you are going to have to protect them from critters. I stick with Costco and Ace hardware cheapies and plant a few new ones each year.
So, I’m giving them a second try. Following Bob’s advice, I stopped at our local hardware store, and picked up a few bags. Since early frost is uncommon here, I’m popping the tulip bulbs in the fridge for good measure. Bob’s climate is a bit cooler than ours, and he occasionally sees snow.
Tulip Bulb Assortment
Then Boomdeeada wrote:
I’ve had mixed success with fall bulbs. My favorite was a tulip called Angelique. Shorter, blush pink, frilly. It worked well in my spring garden (Our house was Burgundy in color). I also planted a mass of yellow & pink, late bloomers on the lake front, they’d bloom along with the mauve lilac. But I was always adding more every fall. I don’t know why they fail, but sometimes there wasn’t anything to dig up. Like you, I do love the scent of Hyacinth, but even though you link indicates Zone 2, they never came back the next year. Don’t give up!
So…guess what made it into my cart? 15 Tulip Angélique. I’m so excited!
Recommended planting months for our zone are October through December. The tulips have a few weeks to chill before heading outdoors. I also bought Tulip Attila and Tulip Passionale as well as Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis. Next up: where to plant my assorted bulbs and how to keep them under wraps till spring. Suggestions welcome!
Rock, paper, scissors Pumpkin