Why do I grow tulips?
I don’t add up how much I spend, because I know it would make me blush.
Tulip blooms last three weeks, max.
You can extend the flowering if you buy a mixture of early, mid and late-flowering varieties, but really you are looking at four to five weeks of flowering.
In my clay soil, tulip numbers start to dwindle and the blooms get smaller year on year, meaning that you have to be prepared to replenish them every couple of years.
Is it all worth it?
I would rather have tulip bulbs for Christmas than any other gift.
From the planning, which starts in August, to the ordering in September, to the planting in November and December, to the anticipation, which builds and builds, from the first little beaks of foliage which poke out in January or February, to the little green buds that appear one day in March. Then this…
It is most definitely worth it.
It makes my heart sing.
It makes my soul sing.
I visit my tulips in the morning before work, and in the evening after work. In the morning they are tight-lipped and touched with dew. In the evening they are wide open and buzzing with bees.
On a weekend, I start my morning with a cup of tea and a walk around the garden. The cuckoo and the woodpecker accompany me. I will inevitably pull a few weeds in my pyjamas. I will tear myself away to have breakfast and a shower, and then I will return to the garden.
There will be productiveness: pricking out seedlings in the greenhouse, potting on, planting out. This will be punctuated by visits to the tulips.
In the afternoon, I might pull up my yoga mat to the tulips and open to the sun.
Or I might pull up a deckchair and read a book with them.
Inside each tulip is a mandala. There is a tricorn stigma and six stamens. The base of the tulip is often stained with a dramatic colour.
There is often a different pattern inside the tulip, compared with the outside.
I invite various members of the family to admire the tulips. They indulge me.
The sun moves around the garden. The front garden gets its turn.
I have two pots filled with Sarah Raven’s ‘Dutch Yard Collection’. The collection comprised ‘Caviar’ (rich, velvety purple), ‘Bastogne’ (red) and ‘Ridgedale’ (a diminutive faded cherry). Whilst I love the colour combination, I have been underwhelmed.
The tulips in my raised beds are beckoning me back.
Even through the jelly-bean buds of the Judas tree.
Now I have a dilemma. Do I leave all the tulips in my raised beds to perform next year? I have done this before, and grown summer annuals over the top with no problems.
I know that the tulips will be slightly less spectacular in their second year. And I would like to try new colour combinations.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Hold on to your hats for May Madness. There will be peonies aplenty, geraniums and geums, salvias and lupins. I have my first rose!
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You might be interested to read a guest post I have written about leadership. Even if you don’t read my post, do explore Angela Noel Lawson’s website, You Are Awesome. I find her writing refreshing, honest and inspirational.