Sunday, May 6, 2012

The World Needs More Tulips

Parrot Tulip It is a dreary weekend here. Between Thursday and Friday nearly five inches of rain fell on central Wisconsin. As I write this we are under a flood warning as it has rained a lot every day since, too. So I am indoors. Unlike Zooey Deschanel, I am not dancing and ordering out tomato soup on my iPhone4S. I'm pretty sure an iPhone4S couldn't get service here anyway, and it would probably pick out the same restaurant for tomato soup as Zooey's because I'm pretty sure it is not on the menu of any of the restaurants around these parts. Anyway, I have a long list of indoor projects to work on in preparation for Handsome Son's big day. Yesterday, I spent an incredible amount of time cleaning out and moving stuff out of my kitchen and painting merely a quarter of it. There are so many cut-outs, windows, I don't think I could lay a roller strip down anywhere. It is a very time consuming room to paint. This morning, instead I am working on gathering pictures from my laptop for a large poster size collage of all my son's achievement and milestone as a "brag wall". According to his dad, these are all the rage back in the small town his nephews and nieces are growing up in and in the greater Chicagoland area as well. I am not doing very well on this. I get waylaid...a lot. I have nearly 11,000 photos and video clips loaded on this laptop. Along with the ones of Handsome Son, and those I have taken for the village website, are oodles of garden pictures. Looking through them and comparing them to my garden this spring, I realize my world needs a lot more tulips. Tulips are a short-lived return on your garden dollar. Times being what they are, tulips are one of the things I have scrimped on. Some varieties, do indeed perennialize. Others do with a little help. I have had great luck with both red and yellow Appledorn perennializing. Years ago when my son's father and I first bought the house in Elgin I planted 25 yellow and 25 red Appledorn. Twenty years later, they are still there, in the hundreds each. Others that perennialize well include parrots, species tulips, and green tulips. Three years ago I picked up about 50 white Darwins on a deep discount. I typically do not have good luck with Darwins perennializing, but there they were nestled among the daylilies with at least 50 blooms yet again this spring. Others need a bit more help. Triumphator and lily-flowering tulips fall in this category. They are best dug up every couple years, divided and replanted. I have had good luck with many tulips once they have gone dormant, with digging them up, storing them until fall and then planting them out. I had an area I called the Tulip Walk when I lived in Elgin that I replanted all the stray tulip bulbs I came across when I weeded and gardened through the summer. I stored them in an ice cream pail on a hook in the garage. When they rebloomed in the spring they formed a beautiful tapestry of all colors, shades, and bloom times. So through this summer I will check my computer for pictures of tulips to find those lurking that did not bloom. I will dig them up and store them, replanting them in the fall. And I will pick out one more sensational tulip
and buy 100 or so and plant a Conga line of tulips along one of my curved bed lines that will make my heart dance in the spring.
Tulip 'Ballade'
Tulip 'Queen of the Night'
Lily flowering-tulip


  1. Yes, tulips are beautiful. They can be a pain in flower beds, though, if you always have to plant new ones. My approach is to plant species tulips in the beds and hybrid tulips in containers - but these are essentially annuals. For the big hybrids, I like Darwin types best.

    Is your son going to have a birthday or graduation coming up? Congrats in either case. Sounds like there's a lot to be proud of.

    My own younger son is graduating from college on Saturday. Can't believe it, to tell you the truth.

    And by the way, I have frequently spent time in Elgin because of my job. It's a long way from there to central Wisconsin.

  2. thanks for sharing.