Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tulip Trials and Tribulation

Clown Border
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
One of the first garden-related things I did when we bought the house was go out and buy tulip bulbs. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to be seduced by the gorgeous photos of all the tulip varieties. Instead of limiting myself to one or, at most, two colors for maximum impact, I bought four or maybe five different colors. It didn't occur to me that buying different varieties would mean they wouldn't all bloom at once. Because I didn't plant a huge mass of tulips, they tend to bloom one at a time. Not quite the showstopping display I had hoped for! Eventually, I get the effect you see in the photo to the right--some tulips are going strong, while others have gone to pot.

Also--and this is not my fault--the tulips have been mutating (I guess that's what's happening) like crazy. See the yellow ones with the red streaks? (Click the photo to enlarge if you want to follow along.) Those were originally pure yellow. See the blasted, almost entirely red ones behind them? Those were also pure yellow two years ago. Not visible because all that's left of them are naked pistils are what was supposed to be 'Queen of the Night'--gorgeous, almost black tulips.* In my garden they have always bloomed an unlovely bruise-like purple/magenta.** Finally, add in the fact that there are large gaps in continuity that resulted from the removal of some ugly bushes, and the end result is that the border looks like it was planted by a colorblind clown.

My only consolation is that I don't seem to be the only person who got carried away at the bulb bins--judging by the heedless riot of tulip colors I see in neighbors' gardens anyway.

Enough whingeing! How about some photos of the parts of the garden that actually look good instead of photos of plants that are not living up to expectations or that are ravaged by pests?***

Daffodil Tableau with African Daisies, Wallflowers, and White Bleeding Heart (features the much-maligned double daffodils)

Close-up of Peachy Daffodil

Mossy Bricks and Golden Hops Vine (included for Carolyn's benefit and because I love the way the hops look against the moss)

Baby Blueberries! This bush flowered so early, I had my doubts about whether the bees would be ready for it. But fruit is definitely setting. Because of my dreadful record-keeping skills, I'm not exactly sure which variety this is, but it's either 'Toro,' 'Patriot,' or 'Olympia.'

More photos will be forthcoming. I ordered a new digital camera to replace the godawful antique I inherited from my father (the early adopter). Yes. I have succumbed to a minor bout of affluenza. But I found a really good deal at Amazon. Since I signed up for an Amazon.com Visa at the same time, my total cost was only $139.88. Even Gandhi would have bought one at that price!

*The other reason you can't see any in the photo is that the Tulip Decapitator (true to form) cut a few of them down in their prime. I can't say I'm terribly sorry about that.

**I have no complaints to register against the white tulips. They bloom for a very long time and have never pulled any color changes on me. I wish I'd planted the whole border with them.

***I seem to have conquered the climbing cutworms. For the past couple of evenings I haven't found any on the foxgloves or hollyhocks. Yay!


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