It was warmer than expected and most of the garden’s tulips opened for the weekend.  That sounds good but it was hotter than they like and a few fried up, and then the wind picked up and they took another beating… and then we had a downpour…so today they look a little tired, but the cooler weather in this week’s forecast will be perfect to keep them fresh looking for another week at least.  It’s not botanical garden glorious, but I’m quite pleased with it, and also grateful that a couple friends were able to stop by and take a look as well.

darwin tulips

Mixed Darwin tulips in the vegetable garden beds.

tulip spryng break

Some ‘Spryng Break’ lined out with the others

darwin tulips

Another view of the potager beds

Honestly it looks much better in the closeups.  From a distance you can see all the “works in progress” around the yard and these beds look more like some maniac just stuffed too many flowers into a tin can vase, but again I’m pleased with it and wondering if I have enough beds of tulips yet 🙂

darwin tulips

Some of the tulips out front.  Like everything else they need dividing but with a gardener who just waddles around the beds smiling at each new bloom there’s only a slight chance that could happen.

Originally the mix came around when I collected stray tulips and wasn’t sure what they were, so just planted them all together.  There have only been a few times when I wasn’t happy with them all together, and when that happened I just pulled out the offenders and all was well, but this year I’m wondering if growing a few as separate color blocks might be fun.  I’m envisioning a Dutch bulb field look with rows of color, and since I think I have too many yellows anyway as long as I’m separating those out might as well separate a few other colors as well, right? -I can almost hear you saying obviously…

darwin tulips

I like them.  I think I need a few more still.  We all have our weaknesses.

Marking and sorting out tulips sounds like a lot of work.  I may have to plant them with some better spacing so they can sit where they are for two seasons rather than being dug each summer, and I think if I keep them along the edges of the beds there will be room for zucchini or whatever and hopefully the extra watering won’t bother the dormant bulbs.  I always miss a few anyway, and they do fine so in theory this should work.

darwin tulips

So much color

In any case I know I’ll have plenty more tulips next year.  These will likely double in number for next year and my friend Kimberly at Cosmos and Cleome will hopefully 🙂 offer me her leftovers again when she ejects her own tulip patch to make way for the season’s next show… I’ll gleefully add them somewhere here to grow on until they’re big enough to bloom again.

darwin tulips

An old bulb bed where a few tulips still come up through the grass and weeds.  Even with the potager beds packed and in full bloom, a trio of flowers in the weeds is still amazing.

Sorry this post is just the ramblings of a tulip maniac.  To make it somewhat useful I guess I should reveal all my secrets about growing tulips so here they are.  Wait until frost kills off whatever is in the vegetable bed and remove the dead vines and stakes.  Grab a shovel and dig a shallow grave.  Dump a reasonable amount of bulbs in and to make yourself feel like you’re putting in some effort, space them somewhat evenly and turn them pointy side up.  Fill the grave with the dirt and old tomatoes and rotten peppers and whatever else you were too lazy to cart off to the compost.  Cover the beds with a good inch or two of chopped leaves so that no one can see how poorly you prepared the bed.  Wait for spring.

I think my reputation is established enough that no one expected the “work” involved here to be anything special.  I have plenty of other jobs to kill myself with here so no sense letting the tulip planting have the upper hand, but it surely  helps that I love digging them up again to see how well they’ve grown.  Tulip flowers are nice enough, but sacks of tulip bulbs curing in the garage must really thrill the dormant prepper in me, and make me feel like I’m more than well prepared for any civilization crumbling tulip-shortage that could happen at any moment.  You never know.  It’s always good to be prepared.

24 comments on “Tulips

  1. I am jealous of your tulip success. If the rodents don’t find them, they will bloom the first year and that’s it. I’m glad you also like daffodils and snowdrops and are willing to share your largesse.

    • bittster says:

      Must be the summer conditions. My garden usually bakes like some rocky Iranian hillside and although that’s terrible for most plants, tulips seem to enjoy it. Daffodils do ok enough to multiply, and when they multiply you share 🙂

      • Yes, tulips do like their baking and that’s not our typical summer. And there’s really no point in being jealous because everyone has garden conditions that grow some plant better than anyone else. The trick is to find those particular plants! So far trial and error seems the best way to do that. I do think I have the world’s biggest Bobo hydrangeas and a recent garden visitor was agog over my hellebores which I don’t fuss over at all. Daffodil sharing is a fine tradition that I have been carrying on last year and this as the garden bed by the construction site needed to be evacuated. Many of those daffodils came from you, and I thank you. I never would have tried “pink” daffodils if I hadn’t gotten some for free. They look much better than the catalog pictures, especially in a vase.

  2. Paddy Tobin says:

    A great display.

  3. Cathy says:

    Beautiful! I never dig mine up, so save myself the ‘work’, but having them in the vegetable bed is such a great idea that I might be tempted to try it…… 👍

    • bittster says:

      I would stick to saving yourself the work 😉
      I bet your windy hilltop is excellent for having them return each year without digging. Most here do that but because of tulip fire disease I’ve been digging and replanting to control that…

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Who needs to go all the way to Holland? One can just visit you in PA. 🙂 A glorious display and I’m not sure I would call all that effort insignificant, but clearly the results are worth the effort. If they double every year, you’re looking at serious exponential growth, wow!

    • bittster says:

      Oh gosh, the exponential growth is exciting each summer but worrisome each autumn when they need replanting.
      Holland still has a bit of an edge. When you see the tulips in person they’re much less impressive than when the closeup fills the photo with color 😉

  5. Linda Keck says:

    So many tulips! Just gorgeous!

  6. You are giving the botanic gardens a good run for the money. Your tulips extravagance is gorgeous. The only tulips I’ve had success with were planted in the traffic bed that divides our street in front of my house. Hot, sunny, filled with more gravel than soil and no water but rain. The tulips thought they were in the Middle East and bloomed beautifully and the rabbit never found them. Now that bed is being taken out for the street project, so it may be the end of tulips for me.

    • bittster says:

      I hope all the road work pays off and doesn’t turn your lane into a speedway. The traffic bed will be missed!
      Your other woodland treasures easily make up for the tulips. Maybe not as gaudy, but you can always stick in a few annual bulbs if you feel the need for a big blot of lipstick red in the garden! haha, I can just see it 😉

  7. Deborah Banks says:

    I much prefer them in this gorgeous mix of colors than separated into individual color blocks. Absolutely glorious! Why not use all that extra time to visit all your good friends in NY state?

    • bittster says:

      I ‘edited’ the mix last week and I’m much happier with the blend now, so it stays! -as if I could toss all those bulbs lol
      I’m hoping to get up there again for the rock garden sale. I’d love to get to the Friday plant sale, but taking a day off from work to drive to a plant sale sounds silly… unless I lie about it… hmmm…

      • Deborah Banks says:

        I haven’t taken the day off either since they moved it to a Friday. They don’t have as many vendors as they used to on Saturday, but I have been looking at the FB postings about the Ithaca library book sale, so maybe I could combine them. Hmm

  8. pbmgarden says:

    What a fantastic tulip display! My shoulder would be calloused from patting myself on the back.

  9. You’re welcome, Frank, and yes, I’ll be happy to pass this year’s batch on to you. My favorite of yours might be Spryng Break, but I bet you might have guessed that! Personally, I prefer the kaleidoscopic beds of mixed colors to the color block scheme. One to two inches of leaves sounds very reasonable, says the woman who piled on four to six and then wondered where all her tulips were in early April! My earlies are just now starting to open–I think the weather this week and next will give me a nice season with them!

    • bittster says:

      Looks like you’re getting your long tulip season! It’s definitely turned cool again, but now I’m thinking sunshine would be nicer.
      I can’t wait to see what you’ve got this year. Hopefully the “generous” mulching didn’t hold them back too much. Lmk if you want a bunch of Spring Break bulbs when I dig.

  10. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your tulips are terrific. I think you should throw in some purple ones for a snap of color. My preference. 😉 My only contribution to the tulip mania is a small clump of orange tulips with a couple of rogue yellow ones. There are a couple of short red ones too. My Dearly Beloved asked me how we could make them grow taller. He obviously likes the tall ones. ha… I told him to purchase some and I would plant them out someplace where they could grow tall for him.

    • bittster says:

      I’d love to add some purples! There are a few open now, but they’re a little shorter and later than all the yellows and I think the yellows are more vigorous and take over… which I still won’t complain about…
      Taller tulips are a favorite here as well. ‘Temple of Beauty’ might top the list, it’s big and tall and bright and might do well for you, it’s been going strong here for a few years. I of course like all of them 😉

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