Tuesday tulip tiptoe.

Tulip - 8 April 2014

Just a grocery-store tulip, but it makes me smile all the same.  I don’t grow tulips anymore – my soil runs on the heavy clay side and the bulbs were simply rotting underground.  I keep amending, though, so maybe in a few years’ time, I’ll be able to try again….

I was out for a walk near my workplace a few days ago and in the yard of a nearby elementary school, the students had planted hundreds of tulips, which were all peeking up out of the soil.  What a great project to get the kids involved in!

Do you grow tulips?  Which ones are your favourites?


  1. Tulips are very pretty! I do grow quite a few in the garden. They are a few inches high in one bed that faces south and is against the house so I call it a warm micro climate. I have lots of other tulips planted but they will not bloom till June.

  2. A lovely pink tulip! I do grow tulips. Of course how many I get to enjoy is a whole other issue as the deer, moose and bunnies tend to munch on them……and then the squirrels dig up the bulbs. Nature at its finest! LOL!

  3. As you know from reading about my spring walk, I love ALL tulips so I’d be very hard pressed to have a favourite, maybe at this moment it is Ballerina.

  4. your beautiful tulip made me smile too, I tried planting on the balcony but they rotted in thecontainers so I gave up as well. Wonder what the school down the road from you is doing differently if they have tulip success? Rot resistant bulbs, got curious and went on google and found this: no containers but still interesting maybe? on gardenweb

    RE: why did my bulbs rot – Mid-atlantic

    clip this post email this post what is this?
    see most clipped and recent clippings

    Posted by sister_k Zone 5 Lafayette, CO (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 4, 09 at 1:39

    I only have containers, no ground to plant in as I live in a condo. I read about bulbs rotting, but figured I would try anyway. I too found that some of my bulbs came up about 2 to 3 inches, looked mostly okay, but stopped growing. When I tugged on them ever so gently, they came out and could tell the bulbs were rotten. This happened with some crocus, chionodoxa and tulips. I planted a LOT of bulbs, and a LOT of different pots. I found that this issue of rotten bulbs has really only happened with shallow pots (I used a few bowl-type planters) and bulbs near the edges of thinner containers. Bulbs in all the sturdier containers have done just fine.

    The very best performing bulbs I have (so far) are the ones the I stored in the refrigerator for about 8-12 weeks (just in their bulb packs, not potted up or anything), then planted on Jan 31. They shot right up and have survived some recent freezes and the flowers have been beautiful. I think I am going to do more like that next year too. This is almost like forcing, I guess, but gives them more consistency of temperature than I can get here in Colorado. Our temps just swing so wildly at all times, some came up too early and had to come inside early, which was still nice in the middle of winter. With a couple recent snowstorms we’ve had here, if the tulips are bloomed, I can just tuck them into the garage overnight. I also think I may have overwatered this winter, and have since learned that bulbs store a lot of their own water, so they can probably do with less watering than I gave them.

    • Oh, that’s very interesting – thank you so much for researching and posting this! We do have extreme temperature fluctuations here, as well – with the Chinooks and all – and that prechilling method might be a way to go. It’s worth experimenting with, at any rate…maybe in containers AND in the ground.

      I know there are quite a few people even in my own neighbourhood that grow tulips successfully – and they’re having no trouble at all with the ones at the school – so I can only imagine that they’ve been able to get their soil into much better shape than I so far have been. When I started gardening in this spot nearly a decade ago, it had been neglected for years and years and the soil was full of rock and building materials and of course the clay content was really high (that’s an issue all over this area). It’s in far better condition now than it was, but it’s still not where I want it, as far as drainage goes. A definite work in progress! 🙂

      • good luck – you are welcome on the research, i had tulips in containers on my balcony and all the bulbs rotted as well a year or two ago so I gave up and now plant only things that grow with no effort or thought 🙂 – but who knows with the prechill method you migh be successful – Poli

  5. Difficult to come up with a favourite. Each spring I wish I had planted more. They are all gorgeous. If I was forced to chose a favourite I’d have to say ‘Queen of the Night’.

  6. What a gorgeous photo. I love Tulips, especially in the ground as Christina grows them but our high water table means we have to grow them in pots. Its too hard to choose a favourite!

  7. Every spring, when I see everyone else’s tulips, i say I’m going to plant lots come fall. The autumn arrives, and I get lazy and have other things to do and never follow through. 😦

    • There’s always so many things to do in the fall, especially with clean up and all – and the weather doesn’t always co-operate, so sometimes the planting doesn’t get done, it’s true. It can go the other way, though: I’ve had years where I totally miscalculated and planted my bulbs way too early, thinking that the weather wouldn’t hold and it did. Fortunately, things usually worked out in the end.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. Around here, they’re mostly grown as annuals. They don’t seem to come back very well year after year. Too much work, but they are beautiful. I always think, next year… Beautiful photo!

  9. I buy tulips from the shops early spring before anything is appearing in the garden too. My own favourite tulip must be the first: “Early Harvest”. It flowers almost as soon as its leaves are visible – right orange – and continues growing while in flower over several weeks in March, before there is any other colour at all! Have a flowery week Sheryl!

    • Lovely to have such cheerful bright colour that early in the season!

      We just got through another round of snow…but maybe…just maybe…that’s it for awhile. Ice fog and rain here today. My crocus flowers are all curled up (presumably in bewilderment) and I don’t know if they’ll reopen. The chionodoxa are bravely soldiering on, however.

      Have a beautiful Easter weekend!

  10. We (extravagantly?) tend to view tulips as annuals – this lessens the inevitable heartache when they don’t make it through to flower the next year. There are a lot of voles in the garden who find them very delicious and we have neither the time nor the inclination to dig them all up and store them after they have flowered. Early Harvest is my favorite (at the moment!) Lovely photo.

    • Really, for the price of the bulbs (they’re quite inexpensive here and I imagine it’s the same there), that may be the way I ought to go. Would be nice to change up the varieties from year to year as well.

  11. Hi Sheryl. Well, that is one beautiful tulip! Ours are starting to come up at the front of our house now too. Go figure, since we haven’t had the greatest weather this week with snow and rain, but they started coming out just last week. My hubby Steve saw them first this year and showed me. Nice to see them. We have African Queen, Queen of the Night, and some other different ones whose names I have forgotten. We normally try to get at least one new pack every year, just to add to the diversity. They are awesome to grow!

    • ‘African Queen’ is a lovely one as well…’Queen of the Night’ is a favourite of mine, too. Wishing you all a sunshine-filled weekend! Are you having family travel in to visit? Happy Easter!

  12. Amazing shot of that tulip. I love tulips but our soil will not allow them to grow. We have a lot of rocks they hauled in as landfill and there is as many or more rocks than soil. I think they are beautiful flowers. I hope you will be able to grow them once again when you are ready to give it a try. Hugs

  13. I do grow tulips. As you may know, I grow the big hybrids in containers, with species tulips in the beds and borders. The very first of the species tulips began blooming yesterday. Also, I just started the book “Tulip” by Anna Pavord – a really great read!

    • Glad to hear the Pavord book is a good one – I’ve got it on my “to-read” list and maybe I ought to move it somewhere near the top! Maybe you’ll give us a review?

      I just finished reading your post about the tulips and other spring flowers in your garden – everything looks absolutely gorgeous! I adore those Tulipa turkestanica, in particular. 🙂

  14. I do grow them here in northern New Mexico, but my ground is so very hard and clay like as well. It’s too dry to rot here so I’m dousing them a bunch this spring to see if that makes a difference. When my blooms have come up in the past, they look dried out and withered so I’m not really sure what I’m doing wrong. I love tulips of all kinds.

    • Maybe your climate is too warm for them? At least you don’t have to worry about rot…but it’s really too bad they don’t seem to want to grow there. I wonder if you would have luck growing them in containers.

      • that’s what I’ve started doing and making the ground a happy place for them. I was just so antsy to get them in the ground the first few years and now I have to redo. It’s worth it tho.

  15. Such a soft and beautiful photo! Aren’t tulips wonderful? They just make most of us so very happy! Funny thing … I posted about them today as well 🙂
    I’ve not grown them yet although I bought some tulips with the bulbs in water rather than soil and I’m hoping to preserve the bulbs for planting later. We shall see …

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