Behind on Everything

Happy Mother’s Day!  Here in the hill-like mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania the sun is out and there’s promise of another beautiful day, and I hope yours is as well.  It’s been staying cooler and I’ve much enjoyed it, but the strong sun and a decent rain have everything sprouting and growing and of course have put me way behind where I should be.  Right now it’s looking like a season of repairing the garden from construction rather than a season of getting everything planted and weeded, but we will see where the energy meter goes to.  We’re currently at ‘moderate’ but sadly that means energy for painting and closet building with an occasional break to dig and move tons of dirt, and not weeding and planting, but at least the very last of the tulips are still in bloom… and the Motrin and Tylenol supply is well stocked 😉

broken tulip insulinde

The “broken” tulip “Insulinde” is still holding strong.  I love it this year, even with a subtle dark and dusty look, the swirls and patterns can draw anyone’s attention.

Nearly all the tulips in the Potager are dead-headed and focused on fattening up bulbs for next year, and even if that sounds sad remember that this weirdo looks forward to digging the bulbs and seeing how well they bulked up.  I’ve set some old wooden pallets and wire mesh aside and hope to throw a few bulb racks together for drying… so that’s one more super-important thing added to the to-do list.

broken tulip mabel 1856

Another tulip who’s coloring has been “broken” by virus is ‘Mabel’, an antique dating to 1856.  

We will see if that happens.  Iris season is coming, and the first of my favorites began to open yesterday and I forgot how fragrant some of them are.  The scents of grape and lemon are drifting through parts of the garden, on top of the last of the wisteria and lilac aromas.  It’s a nice break from the diesel exhaust and asphalt odors which you run into just down the street.

broken tulip black and white 1920

One last one.  ‘Black and White’ goes back to at least 1920 and to me is somewhat similar to ‘Insulinde’, especially when the latter is short on its yellow base color.  

Totally without scent, there’s one more cool thing to share this morning.  A mystery seedling on the side of the house has revealed its identity when the poppy-like buds finally opened up into bright red blooms.  For the past year I’ve been watching fuzzy foliage rosettes grow in this bone-dry, hard packed spot in full sun, and have suspected the gardener threw seeds of something odd here and forgot or didn’t even expect them to grow, but here they are.

blackspot horned poppy Glaucium corniculatum

The blackspot horned poppy, Glaucium corniculatum, is an European annual or biennial which is probably a weed most everywhere else, but here I’m pleased to see it.  ‘Poor to moderate, dry soils’ describes its preferred growing conditions so it’s likely to seed around here… until we get a monsoon year and they all rot, devastating the gardener…

So I bring you more virused tulips and horned poppies this week.  With all the beauty of spring I feel peonies and clematis would be more welcome but I’m sure Instagram is full of that, so maybe this is more refined?  I doubt it, so thanks for reading anyway and I hope you have a wonderful week.

17 comments on “Behind on Everything

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    Does the virus in the tulips spread to others, or does it stay put? Does it weaken the bulb? I don’t know much about it, so am curious.
    It is the nature of the season that we all run behind. It is a race that I barely try to win these days. I’m like a marathoner who is just pleased to make it to the finish line alive. 😉

    • bittster says:

      The tulip virus does indeed spread to other tulips, although I’ve only seen it spread to one or two others so I guess it depends on the growing conditions. I suppose if I had neighbors growing tulips or was growing fantastically rare bulbs I would be concerned, but I have so many other things to worry about in this garden that this doesn’t concern me much. In theory it must weaken the bulbs but I haven’t really noticed a big difference other than some streaking in the foliage. Maybe I’ll run into a ‘bad’ tulip year some day and the stress will bring out more problems… I’m in no rush to see that though!
      Besides being behind it is now dry here and watering has been added to the list. I hate a dry spring 😦

  2. So nice to know I am not the only one behind on everything. Since there are no tours of our garden this year, I am really trying to go with the flow and not be so obsessive. It may not be possible! Since I am not growing more than a scattering of Tulips I am enjoying looking at yours. Can’t get enough of ‘Insulinde.’ I really need to sneak some Tulips into the garden without the rabbits finding them. Just haven’t figure out how.

    • bittster says:

      You deserve a year off! All the work and changes last year run the risk of wearing you out if you run at that pace for too long. If you looked around here you would notice my coping skills include not obsessing over perfection and it’s somewhat annoying but hopefully for this one-man show it will help me get through this year of dirt moving and garden rebuilding.
      Last year a bunny raised a family in the middle of my tulip patch and not a bloom was nibbled. Maybe they were avoiding the nest, maybe they were thankful for the home, or maybe there are so many dandelion and clover weeds around that the menu always offered better options. I’m thinking it was the last!

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Thanks for the Mother’s day wishes. It is a beautiful day here too. My bearded irises are about finished. I do have some Siberian irises that should bloom soon. I am still trying to get those pesky weeds under control but that only truly happens in my dreams. Hav a good week ahead moving dirt and building closets.

    • bittster says:

      The iris are just starting here, which is a good thing because a freeze the night before last would have been much worse if more things were open. It’s rare we get such a late freeze so for once I was glad myself and also the plants were behind.

  4. I’m so glad you named Glaucium corniculatum. I saw it in the first photo and was already planning to ask you what it was when I scrolled down and found my question answered. Lilacs are just starting here and I think we missed some rain that you got, because the most sensitive things are starting to mention that it’s getting a little dry around here, not to mention the wind is blowing. I have come to expect that the gardener will be behind in spring, it’s just a matter of choosing which things to be behind in.

    • Deborah Banks says:

      I love that last sentence – it’s just a matter of choosing which things to be behind in. I feel it’s a successful weekend when I have managed to stay focused on at least some of the must-do garden tasks.

      • bittster says:

        Haha, so many times I try to focus on one ‘must-do’ task and completely derail within ten minutes. You forget a shovel, can’t find a pruner, pick up some branches, weed out around some new sprouts, start digging quack-grass runners… and that pot of thyme is still not planted!
        Kathy- I can’t imagine with all the construction that you’re staying focused. I think you might be having the same year as I had last year, except that the construction moves faster and is better organized!
        The dryness also caught up to us. I was watering last week and have no desire to transplant or plant because of the risk I won’t water enough to keep newly planted things alive. I don’t like a dry May, I prefer lush growth under blue skies with an appropriately spaced out, completely overnight, gentle 1 inch per week rain pattern. Keep dreaming, right?

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Your tulips are wonderful. Hope the weeding fairies show up leaving you time to plant, plant, plant.

    • bittster says:

      I don’t think the weeding fairies have shown up yet… or they did and just left again in disgust…
      I’m pretty sure the pollen fairies have come along and taken their places, I can’t walk outside without two or three sneezes!

  6. Cathy says:

    Peony season will be here before you can blink Frank, so enjoy those lovely poppies and the last of the tulips while they last! The dark one is quite lovely, despite her name. The tulip rack sounds great… how about a blog post on how to make it, and perhaps a youtube video too. 🤣 Only joking! Happy gardening Frank.

    • bittster says:

      Just so you know, the tulips are beginning to yellow, and there’s not a single drying rack made yet 😉
      I’ve been trying to find out the meaning behind ‘Insulinde’s name… one comment that it was a sad name didn’t help much so now I’m curious about what the translation or history is. Please help!
      My daughter wanted to make gardening videos, but I don’t trust her. I suspect there would be a lot of odd filters and uncomfortable close-ups and a lot of giggles on her part.

  7. Donna Donabella says:

    Oh boy I get the energy meter issue. But with a smaller garden it is manageable for me. Loved seeing your tulips even with a virus. Hope it will not affect them further or diminish them.

    • bittster says:

      A smaller garden is a big plus!
      I don’t always relate well to people who complain about all the work involved in gardening. Depending on the year, I often ‘let beds go’ when I’m just not that into them. When the energy meter is low I stick to the stuff I love.

  8. hb says:

    Beautiful tulips! A treat to see them because that’s one type of plant that does not thrive in my region. The dark ones are especially alluring.

    Horned poppy too–I grew Glaucium flavum aurantiacum for several years–it never flowered. Lovely foliage, too. Nice to see some actual flowers!

    I’ve got painting to do myself–and it’s not getting done…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.