#27- In the Time of Tulips

It should be no secret by now that Tulips are my most favorite thing. I often reference “in the time of Tulips” because I once was reading a excerpt on Dutch history when Tulip bulbs were as valuable a commodity as money itself and the time period, including season reference was “In the Time of Tulips.” The mass variety of colors and styles, of course, attract me, but also the cleanliness feel of Tulips is also attractive to me.  They seem so orderly and neat, with little fuss or mess to them.

After visiting the Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley two years ago, I couldn’t get the image out of my mind.  I was so drawn to it that I at several points found myself looking at job opportunities in the area…. all for the sake of being closer.  Clearly I was being a little nutty and in order to talk myself back to reality, I decided I’d have to do the next best thing-  plant MORE of my own (#27 on my list).  I already had a bed of tulips from the year before, and had taken a few leftovers and put them in the ground around the yard as an experiment to see if they too would grow and/or get eaten.  After one full successful season I decided this January to take the plunge and buy out all the area home gardening stores. (side note: 135+ tulips on clearance for $25 total! SCORE!)

This was a gamble that gave me mostly positive returns.  Gamble, because I should have planted my tulips in November. I was already about 2 months behind. Gamble, because who knew how long those bulbs were sitting at Lowe’s & home depot… potentially rotting away.  I’m no botanist but a few just didn’t seem right. Gamble, because shortly after spending a whole afternoon planting 135 tulips…. California went about another 6 weeks without rain. I was a bit flustered. I didn’t want all my efforts, and a bucket list item, to become a flop.

But finally… FINALLY….. I saw sprouts. I counted over 60 sprouts in one area, another 30 in a second area.

There’s no rhyme or reason to my planting other than I put a bulb where ever the ground was soft enough for my shovel to dig in a decent hole. I am pretty pleased overall, because clearly where there was once no color…. happiness has bloomed.  I love it so much I think I will plant 100 more this fall!  They’ve all been blossoming at different times, so I think these pictures might be as good as it gets.  But you get the idea.

There were a few factors for the bulbs that didn’t make it. 1) The ones I planted closest to the bunny patch seemed to have been eaten as soon as petals began poking out.  A handful were lost to these furry friends.  2) My puppy loves tulips, too, it turns out.  He loves sticking his nose deeeep into the pollen-filled centers and wriggling his head all about, forcing some to fold out and lose their shape early, snapping off. 3) I had to choose between being grateful for a husband who mowed the “lawn” or pouting over a patch of tulips that were sacrificed for his efforts. It is what it is.

One day, I believe I will cover this world in Tulips.  I envision tulips sprouting up sporadically along my empty country road, living harmoniously with all bunnies and deer so that I can enjoy them to and from town each time I drive. Where ever we wind up retiring to, I might just have my own Tulip valley. A girl can dream, right?

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