Tulips and Other Thoughts

Springtime Tulips & Other Thoughts

As usual, it’s hard to find time to write about my garden when I only want to spend time in it, especially in April when so much growth and change is occurring.  I’m compelled to be outside whenever possible just to keep up and stay on top of my projects before the next phase.  This week I’m saying goodbye to most of my tulips as my Rhodies, Irises, Jupiter’s Beard and other April shrubs are breaking open.  I can’t let April go though by without saying a few words about tulips.

A spring garden would be unimaginable without tulips.  Each year I can’t resist buying more bulbs with exotic varieties to add to my own garden.  After the daffodils shrink back there’s no time to mourn their loss thanks to the tulips.  I am guaranteed wondrous tulip displays that are the most mesmerizing visual experience of all my flowers in springtime… or at least before the roses bud out.  Each individual tulip type may not last as long as the daffodils, some barely live out their prime for a week, but the different varieties bloom consecutively so you will get continual color for a good month or more.

Here are a few photos from April 25th of my spring garden in the front and back yards.  In the front I have a variety of tulips, mostly the Darwin Hybrid mixed types and other assorted varieties from Holland.  Last year I picked up the shorter Pony Pack varieties grown in Washington, and planted them out front just to mix things up a bit, but they are not at all as stunning as the taller varieties.

I struck gold when I planted this mixed variety of tulips in between my Blue Grape Hyacinth along my back deck.  These are Van Zyverden “Mix”, which look incredible in combination with the blue purple of the Blue Grape Hyacinth.

Purple was my sister Pat’s favorite color.  She passed on a little over 4 years ago, and I wanted to commemorate her in my garden by planting an area around my herbs and fountain that contained a lot of purple herbs and flowers.  The Angelique/Blue Diamond tulips are a fluffier variety that is delightful, and they create a perfect border of medium high lavender & purple tulips.  Another gorgeous purple hued tulip that I have dispersed around the garden and among my rose bed is the Attila Tulip, also from Holland. After these tulips die down my purple Irises bud out, and in the meantime the purple flowers of the Rosemary and lavender bush add additional color to the area in front of the fountain. Later the purple buds of the chives will bloom.  One of the things I love to do most in my garden is plant flowers that remind me of different people I have known and the experiences I’ve had with them.

Probably one of the most stunning Tulip varieties, and one that I planted when I first moved into my home, was the Darwin Hybrid “Olympic Flame”.  It’s obvious why these are such a popular tulip. The brilliant yellow orange splashed with red vertical feather patterns and dotted with the black interior core is impossible to resist.   They are stunning and exotic.  The only problem is that they barely last a week or two at the most, but fortunately they bloom out at different intervals, so in that sense they last longer than a week.

It’s interesting how tulips and daffodils grow differently depending on which part of the garden they grow in.  I’m assuming it has to do with soil quality, sunlight and whatever other location the tulips are growing in in relation to the rest of the garden with its various microclimates.  This year, without my huge Black Locusts shading most areas of the back yard at some point during the day, I notice how much more growth there has been in those areas that were previously shaded.  The problem now, of course, is that I no longer am protected from the harsh glare of the late morning & early afternoon sun, and I am no longer provided with the wonderful shade on my back deck in the mornings.

I knew that with the Locusts gone my house would warm up quicker, but I’m afraid it’s going to be worse than I expected.  Just last week when it was barely 80 degrees the house was already too warm.  Not good!  Most summers I was able to skip putting in the air conditioner, but I don’t think that will be possible anymore when the temperatures rise into the high eighties.  Bummer!   At some point my fruit trees will grow high enough to provide a lot of good shade in my backyard without blocking out the sun over my vegetable beds like the Black Locusts did, but for now they’re basically useless as shade producers.

Win some lose some!

Give me a few days and I’ll get up some links to some really good tulip websites.

Share Button

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>