Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tulip Trials

My Mother's Day present from the gardening gods was tulips...

...which all seemed to bloom almost simultaneously this weekend. It's not a moment too soon because I've been craving these flowers all spring and yet they've been plagued with issues!

Squirrels (or some other rodent culprit) have been decapitating my tulips just as they're on the verge of blooming! Look below the blurry-too-close-up yellow blooms in this picture and you'll see the evidence:

Stems bereft of their flower heads, which are being severed in the night just as the buds are about to open.

I am confident it's not deer because they're not around in my neighborhood (and if errant ones were to wander through it would be big news and immediately known.) In the previous five years I've grown tulips here I've never seen any damage like this and it's downright heartbreaking! But I have hope that my Tabasco topdressing will keep the killers away from the 'Dordognes', which will be blooming later than these varieties:

This is 'Rembrandt's Favorite' with solid purple 'Negrita'. I was so excited about this combo, and mixing it with the stately yellow perennial tulips in this bed (they must be Darwins).

Unfortunately the 'Negritas' are suffering some discolorations, which is rather taking away from the effect. I'm not sure if this is environmental (i.e., frost damage or poor soil), or if I should be aggravated with John Scheepers and stick to bulb-buying with Brent & Becky's.

One 'El Cid' from last year returned, and perfectly placed between the pure yellows and the bi-color Rembrandts.

I struggled mightily to dig trenches in this border with its terrible soil and remnant lava rocks, and last October I swore I would never plant tulips here again. But they would look so out of place in my other borders, and I have to say I've been really enjoying playing with color combos the last couple years. I know they're like annuals that take tons of extra labor...

...and they don't really flow well with look and feel of the rest of my garden...

...but I really loved those 'Ad Rems' I saw at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show and thought maybe next year...

1 comment:

Sissy said...

I love garden blogs because you truly see the color of plants and bulbs, not doctored by catalog editors. I will have Negrita tulips next year! How stunning, that purple!!

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