Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sensational Sizzle; But, Short Stature

I had to call these my "munchkin" tulips.

"The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size." ~ Gertrude S. Wister
I planted tulips this year...literally, I planted them THIS year... 2011... even though I was supposed to plant them in November 2010. As usual, I have an excuse..explanation for my tardiness. For one thing, I tend to be tardy on planting whether it is seed, bulbs or plants. Other life gets in the way, it's too hot, it's raining, my strangely unique anti-tick outfit is in the washer, it's snowing and too cold; these are just some of my rationalizations. This year it was the snowing and cold thing.... but, really, it WAS snowing and TOO cold to plant the bulbs. My bulb bag said that for our area they should be planted the last two weeks of November and I had the bulb planter and food and all the things ready. The second week of November was a typical balmy coastal Virginia late fall week. Then it all came to a screeching halt... it got cold... really cold... cold enough for a two inch snow to stick. And it didn't really warm up... perhaps it got above freezing in the day a bit, but still the north wind blew and at night it was cold. I quickly got reams of bubble wrap and wrapped all the patio plant containers and covered the bottoms and tops of the soil. I moved Japanese maple tree (the one in the pot) and others to the south side of the patio next to the brick wall and the leaves that had blown up on the patio.. I gathered them all around the wrapped pots for an added layer. I grouped all the wrapped pots together in protected corners and even tried to wrap the mock orange bushes ... but knew that at a hardiness level of 20 - 30℉ they would not likely make it and they didn't. Other plants I brought inside.

With all this hustle and bustle at the unexpected cold snap... I forgot about the tulips, but only for four weeks. Yet, alas, it was too late. We had a couple of insignificant... at least insignificant for those in northern states... snows in the weeks before Christmas and much colder temperatures than usual. Here at the coast with the Gulf Stream it is not unheard of to have temperatures in the 50's and 60's at Christmas time. But this year it was COLD! The ground froze... I tried to plant just before Christmas and my bulb planter would not get past the mulch... the ground froze... it really did. We even had that frost heave they speak of where water gets in the soil and freezes, expanding and pushing up little bits of soil. Then it snowed twelve inches on Christmas night and the day after... and January was just as cold as December. So, it was February... the middle part.. before I managed to get them in. The bulbs had started to sprout in the garage, but at least they seemed viable. So I planted them.... 97 around the two trees in the front of the house.

The daffodils come up in March, early... and the tulips just after them. Everyone else had tulips and I finally started seeing the little pointy shaped buds pushing up out of the mulch... then the leaves started to form.... but no flowers. Across the street was a stand of tall shapely tulips... long slender stems and bulbous cup shaped red flowers swaying when the breeze blew. Mine... nothing. Then one day I saw a dash of red on the ground and thought it was a piece of trash blown into the yard. I checked and to my surprise.. it was a tulip! At ground level! No stem to be seen at all! A few days later... another... same size... and another and another. Pretty soon I had a bevy of blooms... sitting right on top of the leaves and less than three inches off the ground. They were supposed to all be red... they weren't... some were pink and some were purple with white stripes. But all of them were munchkin... short... petite.... very strange looking. I'm sure I saw people driving by twice trying to figure out exactly what they were.

I learned one thing... well, maybe two. First, did you know that after you cut a tulip the stem continues to grow for a few days? I didn't. But after the blooms were spent... the stems on my tulips decided to grow... about 8 inches. And again... people would wonder what these things were. The second thing I learned is... no matter how afraid I am that the bulbs will come up too soon in our usually warm winters and then be hit with a late spring freeze... I WILL plant my bulbs this year in the first week of November... NO MATTER HOW HOT OR COLD IT IS!

Oh, yes... I forgot... to get these pictures I had to lay down on the ground with the camera....again, neighbors wondering.......

(end of post)
Ruby Tuesday


Beverly Whitcomb said...

I so much enjoyed being in Virginia last month and seeing the spring flowers, something we lack here in Florida.  I'm so glad those munchkins came up...despite everything.  Yes, I'm sure you were quite a sight on the ground taking your pictures.

Sandra Hangey said...

if i laid on the ground they would have to call for ER help with big strong firemen to get me up. these are beautiful. never grown tulips before and have only seen a few down here in FL, to hot i think.

chubskulit said...

Gorgeously captured, great job!

Strawberry Flavored Jelly, come and have a slice.

Sigrid Tjonnoy said...

Lovely photoes

Kenju said...

They were certainly worth it!! And yes, I did know that they grew after cutting - it makes for some interesting arrangements the next day!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Brilliant bright red tulips are my favorite!



A splash of red or a dash of blue—

Which is the color that’s just for you?


A hint of blue or a tint of red—

Which of these colors goes to your head?


Of all the colors under the sun,

Red is simply my favorite one!


© 2011 by Magical Mystical Teacher




Olive Tree said...

Well, even if you planted them late, they still look gorgeous in that red color. Beautiful photos. Happy Ruby Tuesday to you.

Peruby Peruby said...

Oh, this is too funny! Sounds so much like me. Nice to know that you did have some results even if you were late getting them in. I keep forgetting, too. I ordered orange ones (so I thought) and when they came up they were bright yellow! They never came back.

And Sandra H., I think I wouldn't mind having some strong firemen come pick me up off the ground. ;)

Ramblingwoods said...

Oh your photos are so beautiful....