The Late Tulips

I don’t think I have to tell anyone this is busy time of year, but I will and with that apologize for a lack of blog browsing (and blog posting which is also slacking but far less noticed) and all the other things I’ve been cutting out of my life as I spend way too much time looking at plants and wondering about plants and thinking about plants and just enjoying nice weather… all while also being required to go to work every day.  Golly.

tulip green river

Tulip ‘Green River’ is late and cool and amazing, but also unattractive and not-showy… depending on your eye.  

Work plus construction plus a guilty contractor who offered to deliver a load of mulch as a peace offering for delays.  Mulch to calm the waters?  You bet!  It worked, and now I’m entirely distracted by weeding and mulching and staying cool in the sudden warmth and… there’s always so much going on at this time of year it’s like Mother Nature’s manic stage and I’m just as wired trying to keep up.

pink florida dogwood

Not mulched but maybe next week?  

I took these pictures yesterday evening and have just a few minutes to post them before heading out for the weekend.  Thankfully that may prevent me from going on as much as usual but I just wanted to take one last look at the tulips before the heat and wind send them back to bulbs for another year.

perennial tulips

Fresh mulch and tulips.  That’s a first, usually mulch isn’t spread until the heat of July and I must admit it looks great  -just ignore the barren borderlands where bulldozers and backhoes dwell.

Sad isn’t it?  That they pass so quickly?  Maybe, but for the slightly off-kilter amongst us there’s still the exciting time when bulbs are dug and the gardener can see just how many more tulips will grace the garden next spring!  What’s more fun than sifting through tray after tray of fat tulip bulbs and thinking about next season already? -said no one… or maybe just one person who is currently deep into a tulip obsession…

perennial tulips

The curling blooms will drop in the wind tomorrow, and given the forecast the rest might only last another week or so.  Still, today they look great.

Obviously if I’m staring at tulips in between spreading mulch there’s not much else getting done.  The rains and the heat are bringing on the first tidal wave of weeds.

perennial tulips

I did dig and straighten out the boxwood hedge.  It looks fine, and even better if a weedy tulip or two somehow find their way in.

Plenty of leaf mulch has kept down a good number of weeds, but this week I noticed potato sprouts and amaranthus and again I’m trying to tell myself to put on the big boy pants and take control of the garden with a little more direction and focus.

tulip absalon insulinde

The broken tulips of last year are back, but were in a bad spot for tulips and are much smaller and barely multiplied.  They’re also still awesome though, and I couldn’t resist including a photo.  I believe that’s ‘Absalon’ in the center between ‘Insulinde’ and ‘Black and White’. 

Most of the potager beds are ok, but only if you ignore the latest bunny nest amongst the tulips and the one bed where the mulch ran out.

tulip muvota

The smoky colored tulip ‘Muvota’ has to sit away from the brighter colors in order to show well.  That doesn’t mean it has to suffer the company of weeds, but…

As you may know, some weeds are much appreciated in this “garden”.

variegated lunaria money plant

The white flowered, variegated money plant (Lunaria annua) is one of my favorite plants.  I might need to leave more weedy spots for it to spread into.

Of course not all weeds are appreciated to the same extent.  Each year I ask myself if all the bumblebees and hummingbirds are worth the swamp of jewelweed seedlings which I need to pull each spring.  So far they are, but my patience does have its limits.

primula sieboldii

Jewelweed seedlings are nearly overrunning the primrose bed and a few need to come out so that I feel less guilty when I look at the Primula sieboldii patch.  They really deserve more respect.

I’m still not sure Primula sieboldii is getting what it wants from me.  For some it seems to grow like a weed, but here it seems to want frequent dividing and a little room to spread… both of which will be lacking during this year of construction and garden reclaiming.

primula sieboldii

I love the variety of flower forms from these American Primrose Society seeds.  If things here get bad it’s such a relief to be able to get another packet or two from the society’s seed exchange to replace these little treasures.

Primrose and daffodils.  Besides the tulips these two are carrying me through to iris season and then summer.  My Qdaff and PHS daffodils purchases might be some of the best squandering of Covid relief money that I’ve seen in the past two years.

daffodil magic step

‘Magic Step’ in the low afternoon light of a beautiful day.

New daffodils and a stretch of cool weather have really brought out the colors this spring and it’s let me fulfill one little check off the bucket list.  Many of my new daffodils are recent hybrids from the breeding work of Dr Reed of Michigan, and are some of his best work in bringing oranges and reds into larger cups and trumpet forms.  The other yay is ordering a few bulbs from the work of the late Grant E. Mitsch and his daughter and her husband, the Havens, out of their farm in Oregon.  Back in the day I used to put together wish lists from their coffee table quality catalog and then never order.  Their catalog was about all I could afford, but of course that was then and this is now 🙂

daffodil cherrygardens

In my opinion ‘Cherrygardens’ is kinda awesome.  

Not all my daffodil experiments were an amazing success though.

daffodil little dorr

‘Little Dorr’ is a huge, heavy, outstanding bloom, but…. has a little bit of a taste for dirt…

The rest are all cool though, and hopefully next year will be just as good.

daffodil american classic

‘American Classic’ has all the shading and straight cup that I like.  

daffodil bobbysoxer ‘Bobbysoxer’ is also the nicest little thing, here attractively paired with my beloved New Zealand dead sedge which I suspect is still alive but you never know.

So that’s it from here.  A weekend away and I’m sure the garden will not wait, so I expect summer upon my return.  Maybe the mulch will spread itself and the weeds will leave to come looking for me.  Or not, either way it doesn’t matter, spring is still awesome.

Have a great weekend!

9 comments on “The Late Tulips

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    It is no wonder that your contractor feels badly about the effect he has had on your garden now that he sees how beautiful it is! A little mulch is always a good peace offering. 🙂
    Your tulips and daffs are divine, as are the rest. The cool spring is over I guess… I can’t believe how the past few days of warmth have pushed most of my bulbs over. Fun while it lasted!

    • bittster says:

      Oh my gosh, remember when we thought 80 was a warm day? Spring can sure go fast, but I think next week we get some cooler temps again.
      I just finished spreading the mulch, but once the trailer is empty again I don’t think another load courtesy the contractor would be out of the question. I need to mention yesterday’s cleanup of the water in the basement, that might do the trick!
      Stay cool!

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Not so bad getting that load of mulch for the time lost on your project. I like the way you squandered your CV money. Money well spent. All of those weeds look familiar to me. I tend to not look to closely at them specially when the temp is 90 in May. UGH… Love the American Classic daff and the black and white tulip. Have a great weekend.

    • bittster says:

      Just wrote another big construction check last Friday but somehow I have it in my head to actually take care of what I have before playing with new plants. Ugh to stupid adult decisions!
      Also I noticed many pots of caladium bulbs which need to come out and many bags of canna roots which should be replanted. Honestly between those two my garden will already be over-full but maybe I can pot some extras up and talk a few friends into adopting and have a spot or two for new things 😉

  3. I really like Bobbysoxer! And those broken tulips look straight out of 17th century Holland! And mulch already! Aren’t we fancy?

    • bittster says:

      heh heh, this is the earliest I’ve ever mulched. It felt weird at first mulching when temperatures were reasonable but then finishing up in the sweltering humidity yesterday made it all right again.

  4. Cathy says:

    Your obsession with tulips is quite understandable… they are a wonderful show, and the mulch looks great! The rate things are going, tulips may be the new currency soon, so don’t shy at investing for next season Frank! 😃 The variegated Lunaria is pretty. I have finally planted a perennial one in the hope that will spread too. Have a great week, and hope the construction work is drawing to an end.

    • bittster says:

      Oh! You were able to get the perennial lunaria, how cool. I’ve tried seed a few times but no luck, and there’s zero chance of coming across it in a local nursery.
      Once the tulip bulbs are dug I may plant beans everywhere. If worse comes to worst we will at least have plenty of fresh beans all summer. We’ll live on beans and zucchini 😉

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