Success at last! Maybe not Martha Stewart success, but success by my standards. I grade myself on a curve.
My double early tulips are out, and I think they are pretty darn nice. Sure, they are a little shorter than they should be, and my two colors have, predictably, failed to bloom in concert. But I'm still giving myself an A. They are a lot better than last year's show.
I have bungled my fair share of tulip plantings, which is ironic, because I adore tulips. You would think I'd be more careful. Not that tulips are foolproof here; the winters are too mild and the soil is too heavy. Still, if you take some precautions, your chances are pretty good. Chill the bulbs. Amend the clay. Don't be stingy with the Permatill, but feel free to skip the fertilizer: if you are planting tulips as annuals (and you are, whether you realize it or not), they don't need it. Really. You can look it up.
To all of the above I would add: never, ever, plant late-blooming tulips. "Late-blooming" in central North Carolina means mid to late April, when it's not unusual to have unusually hot weather. Tulips hate hot weather. Generally I go with mid-season, but this time I opted for the early blooming variety. These carry their own risks; last night, for instance, the temperature dipped to 25 degrees. But cold beats hot where tulips are concerned.
Yesterday's freeze notwithstanding, nature in general has been cooperative, and my ounce of preparation seems to have paid off. My reward is a pre-Easter Parade of 100 John Scheepers Double Early tulips - 50 in pink ("Foxtrot") and 50 in white ("Mondial").
"Foxtrot," which began opening last week, is frilly and fabulous. It starts off almost white, with some faint yellow coloring, then matures to a multi-hued pink. I would never wear it, but I love it in my garden. "Mondial," which is opening now, has the same style bloom as "Foxtrot," except it's pure white. Yes, in an ideal world the two would have bloomed simultaneously, but we don't live in an ideal world. I'm satisfied with overlap.
Now if I were Martha Stewart, I might point out (ever so tactfully) that they are too short. Early tulips do tend to be short; 12 to 14 inches is the norm. But as you can see in the image above, mine abuse the privilege. They have actually stretched a bit since Ron took the photo last Sunday, but they are still a few inches shy of a foot. Would Martha give them an A? Probably not. But they are right at home in the Galloping Horse Garden.
The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
Follow the Blog
Problems signing up? Send me an email and let me know.