In Palo Alto, I used to be called “The Tulip Lady” and today in Glen Ellen where I have my farm with daffodil hillsides, I am called the “Daffodil Lady”. Just as I was beginning to write this article on tulips, I got a call from a Daffodil Man who digs, divides and shares the early settler’s daffodil bulbs from around Cloverdale, California. We will meet next week here to walk among mine and set a time to visit his, and this will the subject of my next post.
Tulips are Blooming:
Tulips bloom in a sequence of earlier to latest which usually correspondes to shortest to tallest, which was in my mind when I found my tallest tulip, a single late called Blushing Beauty blooming first along with another one, Big Smile. This year I planted my extra tulips very late at the end of Januay between every other peony row. They are also planted on the west side of my property under deciduous oaks about 2″ deep.
The length of the cut tulips can be extended by using some of the white stems at the bottom of the tulips. The deeper they are planted, the longer the white area. I plant my tulips shallowly to allow me to pull them out completely when picking as the bulbs need to removed in any case as they will not rebloom reliably, especially when cut.
If you look closely, the tulips bulbs are starting to divide and make more and smaller bulbs. In Holland, to make the bulbs larger, one years growth is sacrificed by cutting the HEADS off just as they begin to bloom. This makes the bulb grow larger. When the flower blooms, the bulbs divide and thus it is difficult to have a reblooming tulip in warm climates where cold is needed to made the bulbs grow larger so that they can rebloom.
Reluctantly, I throw away the bulbs and tear off the lower leaves from the stem.
These Blushing Beauty and Rainbow Warrier tulips are very tall and could stand to be shortened or placed in a larger vase. I didn’t plant my earliest blooming tulip, Apricot Beauty, as it was sold out.