Category Archives: tulips

TULIP TIMING

Each fall when I order tulips

I check the calendar for the next spring.

I try to time them to bloom

For my annual Easter Egg Hunt.

That’s tricky

At best.

Easter can swing wildly over a month

From late March to late April.

Then you throw in the weather changes

And you’ve got a challenge.

I’ve been pretty lucky over the last few years

And somehow managed

To have some kind of blooming tulips.

Perfect for photo ops of all kinds.

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Last fall knowing that Easter would be relatively late this spring

I ordered the latest blooming variety I could find.

French Blend from Colorblends.IMG_7487

I’ve been planting these in the front bed

For several years.

And they always bloom well behind

The varieties I plant in the back.

So this year I decided to plant both areas to French Blend.

The days we hit the high 80’s in February

Made me a little nervous

The leaves came popping out of the ground

At record speed.

Then March began to actually act like March

And the whole process stalled.

This week the yellow tulips in the back starting blooming

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And now a few in the front are popping with color.

If these cloudy days hold on for another week.

It looks like I’ll have another Easter

With tulips.

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Please know this has nothing to do with any special gardening skills.

It’s simply planning

Backed up with faith.

A pretty good combination.

Gail

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Filed under Easter Egg Hunt, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized

WAITING FOR MY MUSE

There are some weeks

When the words and ideas

Just flow.

This is not one of them.

So I think I’ll just take you on a photo tour

From my morning walk

Through my garden.

Enjoy the week.

Gail

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Filed under Columbine, Japanese Tree Peony, Parrot Tulips, tulips, Uncategorized

PERENNIAL PLACES

At some point early in my gardening days

I decided on a perennial garden.

My memory is it grew out of my desire to have flowers to cut.

My friend Sally passed along some Gloriosa Daisies

The morning the backhoe showed up in her garden.

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I was off to a good start.

Over the ensuing decades I’ve bought,

Been given, planted, nurtured and killed

More plants that I care, or would want to count.

I’ve had two big perennial gardens

With a borrowed temporary garden in between.

Yet, every year this time I’m amazed with what I see

In my own backyard.

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It’s the rhythm of life

Played out in a growing season.

It is life

With all of its surprises and disappointments

Joys and sadness.

This has been a week

That has reminded me

Of my life chosen to live

In this “perennial place”.

In the span of a few days

I’ve watched my garden

Go from dying back tulips

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To the first blooms of Iris

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And Peonies.

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With lots of buds coming soon.

Life beyond the garden

Brought this delightful note

From the lady who delivers our morning paper.

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A few curves thrown my way

And friends who have decided the time has come to retire

Yet struggle with that decision.

I was blessed with surprise May Day flowers

Delivered by charming little girls

And their caring mothers.

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The week ended appropriately

With the hope of the next generation.

A garden baby shower for Megan & JP

And their baby boy to come this fall.

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The new week began this morning

With communion

In a place where I have worshipped

For over 40 years

With people I’ve known a few months

And others many decades.

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Perennial places.

They give us roots

To grow and blossom.

Deep roots to keep us upright

When the winds blow and bend us.

Deep roots to strengthen us.

Deep roots to grow branches

That encircles our lives

Individually and together.

Gail

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Filed under Baby Showers, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, Peonies, tulips

TULIP TIME

One of the last things I do at the end of the gardening season each fall

Is one of the first things to bloom come spring.

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Tulips

It’s a gift we gardeners give ourselves.

Just at the end of the season

When we’re almost too tired to do another thing

And our knees really don’t want to bend down

Comes the time to plant Tulips.

Some years it’s hard to get it done.

But when spring comes I’m oh so grateful that I did.

Last fall I planted the path to the garden house

With my favorite varieties

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Packed the trenches

Covered them with pansies

And let them sleep.

We had also added a new bed on the landing in the front.

Which was planted with a new variety

Of tulips called French blend.

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They have proved to be perfect for this spot.

This variety bloomed a little later than those in the back.

Which has turned out to be a good thing.

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You see this is a very sunny place.

Surrounded by bricks

Without a drip line.

So the only thing I know to plant there for summer is periwinkles.

But since periwinkles don’t like cold wet weather

You have to wait till May to plant them.

So having a tulip that is still blooming

This last weekend in April works well.

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They’ll last a few more days

Then it will be time to pull them up

And plant again.

The cycle goes on.

Gail

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Filed under spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized

EASTER – CHILDREN – GARDENS

Sometimes holding an annual event

Can be well…dicey. Expectations increase.

People can get tired of the same thing.

The odds for good weather decrease.

Not so if children are involved

And Easter eggs filled with candy. DSCN3793

So, yesterday we hosted the 3rd

I’d say it’s safe to say Annual 1st Presbyterian Church Easter Egg.

Each year Kay, master of children’s  Christian education

Mixes things up a bit. DSCN3730

And this year we decided to invite the families

Of our neighboring church St. Matthews Episcopal.

We have been lucky with the weather all these years.

And this year was no exception. DSCN3766

It was a glorious afternoon.

And to top it off The Redbud trees were still in full bloom

Providing a marvelous backdrop for

The blanket of tulips leading up to the garden house. DSCN3752

Now you realize this is just luck.

No gardener has any say about when things bloom in the spring.

And if you try to plan it – it simply will not happen.

So you might as well just give it up

And hope for the best.

This is an attitude I’ve had to learn.

Fortunately, I had an excellent teacher.

My mother was the most relaxed hostess I’ve ever known. SCAN0001

Oh she would get “flustered” as she would say.

But she learned during the wild ride of her life.

To relax and enjoy it.

So yesterday as 50 or 60 children

(We don’t really know how many came.)

Were running through the garden. DSCN3781

Releasing lady bugs DSCN3736

Listening to the resurrection story DSCN3756

 

Exploring the compost pile

Trying out the  chimney of the outdoor fireplace

And gathering Easter Eggs DSCN3768

One child brought back a wonderful memory of my mother

And the grace that she showed so many people during her life.

It happened during a family Sunday School Class party

Of many of these very people.

It was in the late 1980’s and we decided to have the party

At my parent’s home in the city.

Big house – big yard – big draw.

Dozens of us showed up and swarmed the place. Image (4)

At one point several young mothers were standing in the kitchen

Visiting with mother as Cristina, maybe 3 or so

Appeared with a bouquet of flowers for the hostess.

Freshly picked from her own flower beds.

Beth, her mother, turned ashen.

Mother bent down and thanked

And likely hugged Cristina.

She was thrilled with the gift.

So yesterday

When I noticed Kay’s granddaughter

Walking along the garden house path

Snapping off tulips DSCN3798

I smiled

Then laughed

What a gift this memory is.

Children and Gardens and God.

If you don’t have children to invite into your garden.

I hope you’ll find some

To teach about nature

And grace.

Happy Easter,

Gail

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Filed under Easter Baskets, Easter Egg Hunt, Garden House, Gardening Friends, Redbud Trees, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips

DISSONANT HARMONY

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Sometimes I forget

Just how much

Music and gardens have in common.

Until this morning.

Before I left for church I reminded myself

When I get home to cut that single RED tulip

Blooming wildly in the midst

Of all those perfect pastel beauties.

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It has somehow survived the year

And returned to bloom again.

But it doesn’t fit into this year’s color scheme

So…off with it’s head.

I thought.

It’s probably the only tulip

That’s ever been saved from cutting

By the tenor section!

Here’s how.

We were practicing for our annual

“Palms to Passion” service this morning.

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Doing a simple yet glorious version of

“God So Loved the World”

We were sounding pretty good

Except for one measure when those aforementioned tenors

Were moving from note to note ahead of us

The melody loving soprano section.

The tenors should know this by now.

I thought.

Then I took a moment

And actually looked at the music.

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They were singing it correctly.

Our parts were not the same.

We, the sopranos, were the dissonant ones.

Intended to be different from one another.

Imagine that…

Dissonant harmony in a church choir.

For some reason

This moment really resonated with me

And I began thinking that

Music is like a garden

Which is like life.

Sometimes it’s the very things that sound off tune

That resolve into true beauty.

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It’s the differences that make us richer

And deeper.

Sameness is comfortable

Appealing initially.

But it is in the bounty of difference

That we experience the true nature

Of all that God created.

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Music and gardens.

Some of Her best work!

Gail

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Filed under Gratitude, Redbud Trees, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Saturday morning dawned cool, cloudy.

And sad.

Sloan dubbed them “mean teenagers”

The group that swept through our neighborhood

Stealing and smashing pumpkins Friday night.

Two solid block of streets littered with pumpkin parts.

And little girl’s broken hearts.

Since they smashed the pumpkin

Sloan had grown from seed.

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In the early morning dampness

We all dragged our poly carts out and cleaned up the mess.

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Shortly after that

The sun came out.

And the day began again.

This was the weekend I’d set aside for planting tulips

In the new bed at the front landing.

You may recall I ordered these

From a new (to me) catalog

Called “Colorblends”.

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Because I hadn’t ordered from them before.

I was a little nervous

Would they be big and firm?

What you need to grow glorious tulips

Come spring.

I was not disappointed.

They are great.

I followed my tried and true method of bulb planting.

Plant lots in a smallish place.

It gives you a burst of color

And stops people dead in their tracks.

Guess I have to confess and give an exact example.

Okay, I bought 500 tulips for this new bed

The L shaped bed is approximately

One foot wide by eighteen feet long.

And if you’re planting that many bulbs

You won’t dig 500 holes.

Dig a trench

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Placing the dirt in a wheel barrow

Or on a tarp close by.

My trench was about 4″ – 6″ deep.

I’ll plant annuals here after the tulips fade.

Which means they will likely rot

From summer’s watering.

So I consider them an annual.

And don’t plant them too deep.

Once the trench is dug

Sprinkle bone meal

Then mix it with the loosened dirt.

Place the bulbs point end up

Close together but not touching.

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Refill the trench.

Gently at first to keep from knocking the bulbs over.

Pack it down from time to time

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You should be able to replace all of the dirt.

This year I’m over-planting

With solid purple pansies.

There’s a lot of yellow in this tulip mix

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So I’m thinking the complimentary color scheme

Will be fun.

Now you may recall I’ve written a similar blog

Each fall at this time.

But this year is different

New bed

New tulips

From a new source.

And…you may also recall

That my tulip planting buddy Megan.

Married and moved to Florida.

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Where I’m guessing

She won’t be planting any tulips

In her zone 9 flower beds.

I missed you Megan

Both your help and our conversation.

Some new helpers arrived

Dressed in their cowboy boots

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After attending “Family Farm Day”

At the museum.

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Interesting concept here in the farmbelt

That you go to the museum to learn about the farm!

They may be city girls

But they are not afraid of dirt.

They helped me refill the trench.

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Having a great time

Throwing the dirt.

In the trench

On each other

And in those cute new cowboy boots.

Today we added the purple pansies.

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And watered it all in.

Megan’s sister Katie refers to this

As “the enchanted neighborhood”.

She’s moved back to raise her family here.

Saturday proved her right.

It’s not perfect.

Clouds will roll in.

Your pumpkin may get smashed.

But even a four-year old will bounce back.

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And bask in the community and love

Of this neighborhood.

Gail

“The connections we make in the course of a life–maybe that’s what heaven is.”
Fred Rogers

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Filed under Fall, Fred Rogers, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Lady Bugs, Pansies, Pumpkins, tulips, Uncategorized