Tuesday, April 3
What is Promised and What is Delivered
I was excited to see a flash of color this evening as I pulled into my driveway. Inspired by various other garden bloggers who wax poetic about the joys of spring bulbs, I had decided to take a deep breath and plant some tulips in the front garden this fall.
Mindful of others' advice to plant tulips closely for the best look, I planted my bulbs at the minimum recommended distance. Since I'm better with the digital camera and a computer than a digital notebook, I took pics of each package in the place where its bulbs were planted. As you can see in the first picture, this little area between my hellebores and a flat rock was destined to sport a voluptuous beauty of a tulip: inwardly curved, orangey red petals with yellow edges.
So... maybe the tulips succumbed to the modern notions of fashion and went on a diet over the winter? The colors are right, but the proportions are all wrong. Would I think that this was a lovely little beauty if this is what I meant to plant? Absolutely. But with the false advertising on the package, it feels kind of like I went home with Dolly Parton only to find out that it's all just smoke, mirrors and a big wad of tissues.
Beyond that, I did learn a valuable lesson. When other gardeners tell you to plant your tulips close, they mean close. Don't even read the package if you have a hybrid tulip that's only going to give you a year or two of color at best--just plant those suckers 3 inches apart if you want them to look like big fat bouquets in your garden.
I have lots of other tulips planted that have yet to flower. In the next few weeks, I allegedly will be seeing flowers in creamy white, fringed orange, and a purple so dark that it can be mistaken as black. We'll see. I won't be the last gardener to be sucked in by a Photoshopped picture, and I know that I wouldn't be the first to discover that my White Emperor tulips actually bloom yellow. Nothing that pops out of the ground will really surprise me at this point... and lucky for them, it's early spring. Any color is a welcome color in zone 6 in April.