It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dirt's Tulips

This isn't Today's flower but since I have already done up my post on the Narcissus family I thought I would add the last of that group in that hadn't bloomed until just a week or so ago.

This bed is a mighty wreck and is due for it's complete overhaul this summer after the bulbs' foliage dies back. I planted this the year I really became interested in fall planted spring flowering bulbs which coincided with my 'new' back yard and fence line.
This bed was planted as a river of muscari with outcroppings of 'Dickcissel' but it is too damp for them to really take off like they should and so damp at the beginning of the log bed that they have actually dwindled to just a few really tough and determined buggers.
Dirt and I will be putting in a french drain along this bed that separates our "back" yard into two lawn areas hopefully during his break in June and then in August I will come along and redo the bed and prepare it to retake the bulbs that survived and some more of the same.

The fall of 'o4 when I put the river of muscari in I also planted red tulips along my new fence line, and began planting hyacinths and daffodils in earnest in certain gardens, more than just the few occasional bulbs someone might have gifted me.

At first I wasn't all that sure that I would really appreciate spring bulbs. In case you haven't noticed Dear Reader I get a little busy in the spring.
Maybe busy isn't really the right word, but I begin to feel I have more work than I can ever get done, so the head goes down, the nose hits the grindstone and I rarely come up for air this time of the year.

But I am beginning to depend on the company my spring bulbs give me while I garden. I have always enjoyed the early flowers on more native and or self sufficient plants and shrubs, I had just relegated the fall planted, spring flowering bulbs to that corner of too much trouble for the outcome.

But Dirt has declared tulips to be his next favorite flower right under his first favorite, dahlias. He claims Dahlias are his favorite because they last so long in the garden.
I can't believe that he would be using the same criteria for his tulips as these had just begun to show color on April twenty-second and now today, a mere two and a half weeks later, most of them are nothing but a collection healthy stem and leaf. That would be thanks to our fall-like wind storm were endured a few days ago.

So it is farewell to my beautiful red tulips, Darwin type - 'Red Impression', it was a lovely visit.

I still have my 'Princess Irene' tulips, a single early type, to enjoy for a week or so more as they are a later bloomer and were tight buds during the tulip shredding weather.
I crave her wild color combination, but the fragrance she is touted for emitting smells a lot like squash meat to me. So even though a few years ago I decided to grow her mostly on the basis that she was to be fragrant, I continue to grow her because she is so stunning. Whether you call it persimmon or just plain orange, I am drawn to striking color.
The first year I grew her I paired her with a lovely gentleman tulip of the plummy purple persuasion, 'Purple Prince,' another single early type and they were a striking couple.
The last two years I have planted her with a ring of 'true blue' pansies. A choice based on saving a few bucks because I steal the blue pansies out of her planter pots when she is done being the star of the show.
She and her different mates have graced my walk way area for three years now. And they do so beautifully for about three or four weeks if I am lucky. Hopefully the storm that we received when she was in a tight bud stage will not be repeated now that she is more mature and tender these next few weeks.

Before I made the slightly larger investment for her bulbs, I used Menton in my pots along the entry way. A very nice tulip in it's own right, a much more subdued pastel color in my favorite palette of apricots, peaches, and persimmons.

The return of the earlier purchases of Menton have regained in size and graces the inside edge of the walk or kitchen patio.

Here is my latest installment of trying my hand at being a tulip farmer. I really dislike falling in love with something that is expensive and must be replaced each year. So I figure, if someone out there can supply the world with new, blooming sized, bulbs each year so can I. Especially if some of the growers are in my local microclimate. There shouldn't be any reason I can't provide myself with my own replacements.

I had fairly good luck with bulbs planted in pots, creatures didn't get to them as easily and I could tuck them away and withhold water during their "dormant" season (they really don't go as dormant as a perennial perhaps does).
But they seemed to reproduce little bulbs more often than just gaining size. I believe it has something to do with depth. So I have branched out to using one of my beds. All these are planted at the depth of seven to eight inches and hopefully they will gain in blooming size before they feel the need to reproduce.
So far I have learned:
  • That unless you plant the Darwin type, summer water and normal flower bed treatment is the death of tulips, even the Darwin types eventually peter out, sooner than their expense warrants, in my book anyway.
  • If planted shallowly tulips tend to make new small bulbs and the 'parent' bulb dies.
  • If left in these little groups of new bulbs and not taken up and given room, they soon die out. Unlike their earlier visiting friends the daffs, apparently they do not appreciate being right on top of one another.
  • It takes about three years for a new little bulb to gain a decent bloom size.
  • I am wondering if they would make size faster if I clipped out the bloom right away until they reach the appropriate size.
I am finding it hard to locate tulip reproducing and growing information beyond the "buy it, plant it, buy it again" information. So I am trying to accumulate the information I can find and experiment and try things out for myself.
I don't really want to be a tulip farmer, I just want to be a cheap gardener who likes and has a few tulips growing to make her Dirt happy.
Dear Reader, I hope you are having a delightful day today. If you are a mother, I hope you have had a good celebration of who you have become through God's blessing. If you are some mother's child, I hope you have thanked God for her and told her so today if you can. If you can no longer shower her with love and honor, I hope you tell others, and give thanks to God for what a wonderful blessing it was to have her as a mom and to be born into such a wonderful and enchanting creation such as this by her gift to you.
Today and through out this week go see some more of the beautiful flowers in God's creation at Today's_Flowers!


KathyB. said...

Your flower beds are always beautiful , even when the weeds crowd in....and thanks for so much good info on tulips. I have always wondered why my expensive and well cared for tulips peter out after a few years! I have pretty much gotten to the stage where the tulips are not worth the expense , except in pots! Happy Mother's Day to you, Lanny!

Mildred said...

Lanny, How I love strolling along with you in your yard. It is all so very beautiful. I only have a few tulips that were potted gifts thru the years that I later set out in the yard. Yours are all so healthy and big and you have shared some pretty pictures today. Thanks!

Kendrawolf said...

I love looking at your flowers!

A. Joy said...

Wowzers you've got a lot of flowers going on at your place!!! Thanks for planting and posting them all for us to enjoy!!! Nice work!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh my goodness they are beautiful! dirt is a lucky man!

happy mother's day too!

smiles, bee

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

Lovely, lovely flowers. It is so very pretty in your neck of the woods. I wish we could grow Tulips but it's too warm here (I tried) and y'all get more rain. We have to grow bulbs that are more heat tolerant. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home.

I'm feeling much better. The rhino virus is gone but now I'm all sniffly. If it's a head cold I'm gonna just cry! [lol]

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

What gorgeous tulips you have! I love them in the pots with the pansies. The bulbs along the fence line must've been a lot of work, but they sure look pretty!
Happy Mother's Day!

Naturegirl said...

What a beautiful show of your prized tulips and how stunning is that row of red along your fence! Love your pots all painted gray..a wonderful series of photos of your lovely garden!Thank you for sharing!

fishing guy said...

Lanny: You certainly have a lot of neat tulips in you flower beds. You flowers are putting on a splendid show.

Arija said...

Your Tulips are just sooooo splendid!

Kathleen from Eggs In My Pocket said...

Such a beautiful post with such beautiful photos. There's is just something about tulips that cheer every corner...don't you think? blessings,Kathleen

Shellmo said...

I just love your landscaping and your beautiful flowers! What an inspiration! I really like how you mixed the pansies w/ those tulips - it was a striking color combination!

Denise said...

Oh what an awesome series of photos, so many beautiful tulips. Just lovely! Thank you so much for sharing all these with Today's Flowers. Thanks also for stopping by my blog. Would you believe we have HOT WATER as of this morning. We finally got our repairmen to put in a new tank and I had the longest hot shower ever, just this once. It was wonderful. Have a great week.

Daisy said...

Wow! So many gorgeous flowers you have, Lanny! Loved all the photos. Thank you for sharing those.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Absolutely stunning photos of your tulips. you old Tulip Farmer you! I think if you try different things and keep really good records, you will have a very successful tulip program. I found out many things just by experimentation in my greenhouse, and the key is a notebook..and writing it all down! :)

ethel said...

tulips!! my goodness they're outstanding! great gardening skills you have!!