Don’t get me wrong – I’ve loved having the Tulips in my garden. They are beautiful and they’ve added glorious colour to the spring garden, but were they “worth it”?
According to Wikipedia, During the Ottoman Empire, the tulip became very popular in Ottoman territories and was seen as a symbol of abundance and indulgence – I understand why.
The bulbs are fairly expensive, certainly the ones I bought were. The standard tulips were quite reasonable but were sold out so quickly that I only managed to get my hands on a few – and only red were left when I bought. As Tulips are my daughters favourite flowers, I had promised her “lots of tulips”, so when the exotic tulips became available, I indulged and bought a lot of them. They were pricey considering that they are only worth keeping for one season, or so the bulb-people tell you. But order them I did and I lovingly planted all the bulbs and waited in anticipation for a marvellous show of tulips.
Was it marvellous? Well … it certainly was lovely. It was a fun experiment. It was great being able to cut tulips and bring them into the house (and my cut tulips lasted a whole lot longer in the vase than the ones from Woolies do). But was it “show-stoppingly marvellous”? I would have to say no. The exotic tulips all seemed to bloom at different times so I never had a single “wow” moment in the bed they were planted in. We had plenty of “thats very pretty” moments, but never a “Wow, that is a great show of Tulips” moment. And once the blooms are spent you are left with the collapsing greenery … and no chance of another bloom (indulgence!).
The standard red tulips are blooming now and they look lovely. I don’t think the the way I planted them induces a “Wow” moment when you see them, but we are enjoying them for now.
My final verdict: If (and its a rather big if) I buy tulips again, I will plant them in pots which I can move around or in an area that isn’t that obvious (but then whats the point really?). For the amount of time they took to grow and flower (4-5 months growing time for 2 to 3 weeks of flowers), that’s just not worth it in my book. I think I can do a lot better by choosing any number of the perennials on my “I want these” list, which will give me pleasure for a lot longer than three weeks. It’s not that I expect a plant to flower continuously, far from it, but I don’t see the point of devoting an entire flower bed to six months of growth for a fleeting showing by the tulips, only to trash them afterwards. I just don’t have that much space in my garden (or cash in my bank account :)).
So much like one says to friends you know you won’t be seeing again for a while, I bid Adieu to the Tulips … till we meet again!
In Memory of the Tulips …
Perhaps I will look back on this post next year and change my mind and do it all over again … time will tell.