Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tulips on Tuesday

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

-Dorothy Frances Gurney, Garden Thoughts

I just love tulips! And alliteration is pretty fun too. So today is Tulips on Tuesday. But before we get to the pictures of the tulips, I have a couple of pictures from last week that I didn't post because I was busy 'conserving' and trying to figure out how to get a prize ready for a giveaway by post 100. This is post 104 and I'm still not ready. Go figure. I think I spend too much time blogging.

This is the birdbath garden. Several years ago, I spent hours pouring over the Breck's catalog finding just the right combinations of bulbs that would bloom at the same time to create little 'in-ground' bouquets. There were several things wrong with this plan. First, as it turns out "Early Spring" means something different to tulips than it does to hyacinths or daffodils. Second, the pictures of some of the flowers weren't true to what actually grew in my gardens. And third, they substituted out a lot from what I actually ordered. This little bunch in the center, with Mt. Hood Daffodils, Blue Jacket Hyacinths and Red Emperor Tulips is my patriotic garden tribute to 'Red, White and Blue.' Of course, you can't get true blue flowers (they all come out in shades of purple), but I thought it was a good attempt anyway. And look at the lovely bunches of Tête-À-Tête daffodils. They are still my favorite and I love that they bloom at different times around my yard.

This gorgeous Helleborus is in the deep shade garden that runs across the front of the house. This is the first year they have bloomed, so it was a fun surprise to find them so early. I love the color. Green flowers are such a contradiction.

This is another of my attempts at an 'in-ground' bouquet. The theme for this was 'orange.' The hyacinths smell so lovely! From left to right, the light yellow are Gypsy Princess, the orange(ish) in the middle are Gypsy Queen and the pink (not sure how those got in there) are Fondant. The daffodils in the bunch are called 'Orangery' but the color looks more yellow than orange to me. The pink Replete daffodils I bought for other bouquets look more orange.

The year after I worked up all those bouquets, I gave in trying to control nature and ordered a grab bag each of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. These pink hyacinths and the daffodil were from the grab bags. The trouble with grab bags is you don't know the names of the individual flowers, unless you already have some and know that the company you ordered from only offers one variety of pink hyacinth. So, I don't know the name of that beautiful daffodil, but the hyacinth is Fondant.

And look at the pretty LadyBug I found in my gardens!

This is the Sidewalk Garden on March 1.

This is the Sidewalk Garden on April 12 (thought I had one closer to April 1st, but I couldn't find it).

And this is the sidewalk garden today, a mere eight days later. Talk about an explosion of color! I'll admit, it is a little unbalanced. As I mentioned, I wanted to create some in-ground bouquets and then the following year I planted bulbs randomly, trying to fill in. The trouble with bulbs is that you can't see them when you plant, and so I only had my mind's eye to get the spacing and proportion right. It is tempting to dig them all up after they bloom and move them so that they are better balanced.

The orange tulips in the corner are Donald Duck. I don't remember ordering yellow tulips -- I think they are supposed to be Apeldoorn Elites, which start out yellow and turn red. But these stay yellow. The daffodils grouped with the yellow tulips are called White Lion and have ruffled yellow and white centers. They are very pretty, but you'll have to take my word for it because they're hiding.

There are two different purple tulips here. The larger blooms, on the left and in the center, are called Queen of Night and are supposed to come up a deep maroon so dark they are black. The first year, they were pretty close. I think some bulb fertilizer would probably correct the color for next year. Some of the hyacinths are looking a little bedraggled too and would benefit from that as well. The two smallest purple tulips are called Arabian Mystery and the white along the edges should be a little more pronounced. I love how the red of the peony (bottom left corner) provides a contrast with the green foliage here.

I can't be sure of these tulips, but I think they might be the Apeldoorn Elites that are supposed to go from yellow to red. Either that, or they are orange ones a neighbor gave me and the colors have separated from each other. In any case, the color is pretty.

These are the Donald Duck tulips that go with the Orangery daffodils and Gypsy Princess and Queen hyacinths I showed you earlier. The hyacinths and daffodils have already faded, and the tulips just barely appeared. If you ask me, the Donald Duck tulips look more like Orange Emperors and I have to wonder if they mess with you on purpose when they package everything up, or if there's an error in translation somewhere, because the bulbs are shipped directly from Holland. Just one of the many reasons why I stopped trying to control nature.

This is the deep shade border that runs along the front of the house. Most plants don't do well here, but I planted bulbs from my grab bags and they do great. They just come in a little slower. The daffodils and hyacinths are just blooming now and the tulips won't be in for a while. The exception to that are the bright red tulips, which are called Firespray and were ones I picked because they were marked 'shade.' You can also see the Leopard's Bane (yellow flowers, just right of center) is starting to bloom.

Another shot of the bulbs coming in. Not many tulips for a 'Tulips on Tuesday' post. And please, pay no attention to the dead foliage still left from last year.

I was really surprised when I went outside today to survey and saw that the Bleeding Hearts is blooming already! Last week it was only about half this size.

It was also fun to find a pansy in bloom! Since this garden sits mostly in shade until later in the season I haven't had much luck in getting them to bloom in concert with the bulbs.

Since it is 'Tulips on Tuesday' I'm going to show you a bed I'm a little bit embarrassed about. This bed is a new one and I knew a little more about what I was doing when I put it in. All but the Sidewalk Garden were in place when we moved in and I just started planting, not realizing that the beds are full of heavy clay and rocks. With this new bed I dug out about 1½ cubic yards of dirt, tilled the bottom of the 'pit' I left and then tilled in layers of compost, peat moss and soil. It is the best flower bed on the property. So, can you blame all the weeds that want to come and live here? Add to that the fact that I tend to get myself involved in too many projects and I blog too much and, well, I'm left with a tulip-filled weed patch. All of these came from grab bags, except for the bright pink tulips, which are called Toronto Tulips.

Here's a shot of the new bed in an area where the weeds have been cleaned out.

I love tulips. Have I mentioned that? I've only been an 'official' gardener since we bought our house nine years ago. But I think I became a gardener 'in spirit' as a child. The house we lived in from the time I was four until I turned 14 had a garden strip that the previous owners had planted with tulips. The only other things that grew in the gardens were roses on one end, rhubarb on the other and weeds in between. But I really remember those tulips and have loved them all my life. I remember, too, one summer going out and clearing out a section of the bed (it was long, spanning the width of the property) so that I could plant a garden. But my parents weren't gardeners and they lacked the know-how (and the money) to help me out.

One of the things that attracted me to the house Mr. Bug and I live in now were the gardens. There are lots and lots of gardens here and they were mostly empty. As I've experimented with things, I've found gardening to be a very forgiving and therapeutic hobby. But right now most of my beds are full of dead foliage from last year and weeds. I love gardening, but I've kind of let quilting and blogging take over my life and so it isn't as relaxing to go out and play in the dirt, all the while thinking, I have to hurry and get this done because I have so many other things that are demanding my time. Anyone want to co-op? You come and help me get my gardens cleaned out and then I'll come help you with gardening or another chore you're behind on. But then again, you're probably all caught up on your chores.


Linda said...

Your flowers are gorgeous, and I'm quite envious! We cannot grow tulips here, or most other bulb plants. they show up in pots in the stores for Easter, but you'd waste your time putting them in the ground. I have a couple pic on my blog of a few things I am growing. Not common flowers for here, but maybe you're familiar with them. I am very peaceful when I'm playing in the dirt.

QuiltNut Creations said...


i didn't know those tulips were called Donald Ducks; i have some as well. and i love the yellow tulips

Shay said...

I love the idea of a co-op Elizabeth , but it probably wont work out for you and me...

Your flowers and gardens are lovely. I am not a gardener at all. I simply dont have patience, and I hate weeding and I kill living things.

However I really do appreciate a beautiful garden and wish I liked gardening better.

P.S. Cute lady bug you found in your garden!

whimsyfox said...

Your gardens look lovely. I sigh and dream of the day my yard will have flowers, cuz right now it's overrun by lots of grass, clover and a few straggly bushes.

But then again, I'm not much of a gardener so it's all gonna have to be set up to be self sufficient in order for me to enjoy flowers over here!

whimsyfox said...

BTW, nice new "grab me" button! ;)

Elizabeth said...

I love your tulips. We have a large garden in Canada, and I miss them here in Korea. Of course, this is cherry blossom season, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

Jennifer Lovell said...

I'm with "Quilting in My Pajamas"...I can really appreciate a beautiful garden and wish I liked gardening more. I'm so glad your talents extend to so many different creative venues, because I love the beauty that you bring into our world. Jeff loved your flowers, too!

And, good job on those "before" and "now" garden pictures, I loved seeing that comparison!