Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spring Garden: Tulip Time

May 15th and Tulip Time has come and gone. But I was on my game enough to capture some highlights  and share them here.

What was different about this year's tulips is that I didn't pull the leaves and stems last year after they bloomed and replant new bulbs in the fall, a practice I've been doing for at least 10 years. When I worked in the Netherlands for Gallup  back in the mid 2000's, the Dutch folks told me that they treat  the tulip as an annual and if I wanted the best, most robust blooms, I should pull the stems and leaves immediately  after they bloom, then plant new bulbs in the spring.  It's more work and expense, but you always get a full crop of tulips.  So I did.

With retirement looming and thinking about tightening the expense column of the garden ledger, I decided last spring to keep the tulips as they were until the required 6 weeks after bloom time so the bulbs could recharge. The risk with this is that you may not get as full of a bloom as you did the first year the tulips were planted. But a risk worth taking I thought.

You can imagine my delight as the ground thawed and the tips of the tulips began to emerge. And when the blooms came, better than I had expected, I was really pleased.

If you go out in the garden today and look for tulip foliage, you will find it doing the required 6 weeks after bloom recharging. One more year,  I think. We'll see at Tulip Time next year.

The picture below ( obviously not a tulip is the flowering crab that we planted in our front yard in remembrance of our daughter-in-law, Patti, who passed away several years ago from lupus. Every spring it reminds of her even though she is with us always.

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