Fleeting Spring

P front border April 17 compressed   All winter we long for spring.  We dream of how the many, many bulbs planted in autumn will emerge and flower.  Will the combinations pictured be reality, or even better?  Will the timing of the bulbs with flowering trees be correct?  We drool over photos of spring blooms geographically south of our gardens for what seems weeks.  And then, finally, there are flowers appearing in our own gardens and pots.  The crocuses come, and on their heels the iris reticulata.  True miniature irises follow, the large-flowered crocus, and then miniature daffodils appear.  The forsythia blooms and daffodils emerge and sway in the breeze….unless they are folded over by the winds.  My favorite muscari, Valerie Finnis compliments the yellows with its sky-blue flowers.  Muscari Valerie compressed  This was the first year for a fantastic daffodil, which I added to the new island bed in the front yard.  It’s called “British Gamble.”  Daffy British Gamble compressed   The flowers are huge and the prettiest shade of apricot, all ruffly on the trumpet edge.  The surrounding white petals really set off the trumpet.  The stems were not only strong enough to support the big flowers, but they all survived our 55mph wind gusts!  Impressive.  I admired them daily, and remembered that while I planted them, I kept thinking of the British decision to leave the EU, a true British gamble.

In contrast, the daffodil I was most hopeful for was “Congress.”  With a name like that I should have known I’d be disappointed.  It was flashy, bright yellow petals with a somewhat squashed red-orange trumpet, but it’s flowers were not as large as touted, and it was not long lasting, so not a hard worker in the garden scheme.  Probably how it got it’s name. (Sorry, I’m not usually political.)  I didn’t even get a good photo.  My favorite daffodil is still “Delnashaugh,” a beautfil apricot and white that began blooming April 5 and is still beautiful today (the 29th).  It also has great strong stems.Daffy Delnashaugh compressed  For a little charming narcissus, I’d pick this one….. Narc Pippit compressed called “Pippit.” It’s a bright, bright golden yellow, with a very pale, creamy trumpet, and multiple flowers on a stem.  They began April 19, and are going strong.   The tulips then came fast and furious, beginning April 9.  P int border APr 17 compressed  Although they were supposed to be early, mid and late, they all pretty much bloomed at once.  If I hadn’t mapped their locations carefully, I would have had trouble telling which variety was which in some cases.   In this photo, the tallest and closest to the fence are the “Apricot Emperor” just beginning to fade.  In front of them are “Daydream,” which opened pure yellow before turning various luscious shades of orange, tangerine, coral, and apricot all together as they age.  In front of those are “Charming Beauty,” more about them later, and the short ones are T. orphanidea flava, which began pale orange and faded to yellow.  In the background, behind the fence are “Annie Schilder” which proved pretty durable.  Here’s a close-up of one of my very favorites, “Charming Beauty.”

Tulip Charming compressed  This one was one of the brightest.  Generally they are a little softer apricot, and almost like a peony.

All in all, I was happy with my plans and color choices.  It was just too, too brief.  The poor flowers were hammered repeatedly by hail, and almost daily by strong wind gusts.  The good news….no rabbit or deer damage this year thanks to Plantskydd.  I’ll replace the tulips again this fall, because very few returned from last year.  “Blushing Lady” returned, most likely because she was in a spot that is rarely watered.  A few of the fringed “Aleppo” also returned.  Tulips like to be dry while they are dormant, and since nearly all of mine are in flower beds that get watered all summer, they cannot be expected to survive.  Of course, the other bulbs will generally not only return, but multiply.  I won’t detail all the many varieties planted, but just wanted to touch on those that are becoming favorites.  However brief and battered, as long as I am physically able, I will plant tulips again and again.  To me, their beauty and grace are well worth the effort.


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
This entry was posted in bulbs, gardening, planting, Spring, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Fleeting Spring

  1. Very nice blooms. We are way past the tulip daffodil stage here in TN. As a matter of fact, we are expecting 90 degree temps today! I love spring and all the beauty and newness it brings with it. Have a wonderful weekend.


  2. You really have some excellent choices there. Though the bloom period is brief–wow-what a show. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sharon says:

    A fabulous display – well worth the wait. I grow on London clay (same stuff that made most of the yellow building bricks across London) Any how, I line the tulip trenches with grit and mix the soil with sharp sand and compost, so they have good drainage. I works for most varieties – Angelique is the only one I found so far to be too delicate.


    • carolee says:

      Thank you. It still needs tweaking, but I think doing more of fewer varieties works better overall. Last year I did more varieties and less of each, and it looked spotty. The fun is the experimenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jen says:

    I chuckled about your “Congress” daffodil! I’m north of you in the Great Lakes but we had those same winds. I’m not experienced with bulbs but I’m glad to know tulips like to be dry when dormant.


  5. bcparkison says:

    Brave lady! I’ve never tried tulips but do love them. I have to stick to things that will come back every year…unless Babe takes a notion to dig. Babe is my Cur that has taken to gardening on her terms.


  6. I really love the muscari. Lovely color!


  7. Beauties! And I love how the Congress lived up to expectation. 😦 Rain, rain, rain here in Washington through the spring too, after a cold winter; but apparently the tulips loved it. I’ve never seen them last so long. Thank you for garden talk.


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