I picked a bouquet of tulips this morning and have been enjoying their pretty pastel colors all day as I work. The bouquet contains probably the best tulips in the garden, for most of them this year are stunted looking – about half the size they should be. It’s as if they all began blooming before they attained their maximum height. I lost all my Darwin hybrids in the bed next to the garage from the heat. I had one day of blooms and the poof! All the petals were on the sidewalk.
Tulips are one of my favorite flowers, and I plant them despite the deer, the rabbits and the weather in southern Virginia. Perhaps I just enjoy a challenge. Or perhaps it’s part of that German-Dutch heritage. Tulips may be in my DNA.
I added only a few last year, a bag of Rembrandt tulips to the pastel mixture gracing the garden by the kitchen. The photos of the tulips in the garden shown here were all taken last year, by the way. I shudder to show you what they look like now. Unless you like to look at petals straggling off of a tulip, it’s not a pretty site.
So why was last year a great year for tulips and this year is a bad one? I can think of a few reasons. First, the heat. This winter was so mild that I wonder if the bulbs got enough of a chilling period in the ground to flower properly. The heat wave that hit so soon this March also appeared to encourage earlier flowering, hence my stunted tulips. I found one Cooperative Extension website which described a similar problem and the extension agent answering the questions basically pointed to an environmental cause, but nothing specific. Since I can’t do anything about weather, I’ll just leave my tulips and hope for the best for next year. Cooler weather is expected this year and the large mass planting I have behind the house hasn’t flowered yet. I can see buds, but hopefully the cooler weather will give the tulips more time to complete their flowering naturally and not fool them into rushing into blossom.
In the meantime, my little bouquet gives me such joy. Only tulips can make me smile like this. They are truly some of my favorite garden flowers.
|At least I have pictures from last year….|
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