My office windows look out onto a series of window boxes. The box right behind my desk is, as you can see, a magnet for wild life. How MCat manages to insert himself between the flowers and the glass without so much as a petal being ruffled-I have no idea. These old factory windows are cloudy with lime, but I have a view, none the less. On a lark, I planted World Expression tulips in them last fall.
The lark part has to do with plants (in this case bulbs) surviving a winter boxed up. Few plants like to live over a winter with their roots above ground. The repeated freezing, thawing and heaving wreaks havoc; all any plant wants over the winter is to sleep deeply, and undisturbed. Had I been a better gardener, I would have lined the boxes with sheet insulation first-in an effort to keep the freeze consistent once it came. I just buried them deep, mulched them, and kept my fingers crossed.
World Expression is one of my favorite tulips. The plants develop surprisingly fast, considering how large they are. When I am in the mood to contemplate the miracle that is nature, tulips instantly spring to mind. From a brown orb barely an inch and a half in diameter comes a plant whose luxurious leaves grow in excess of 14 inches tall; the flower and stalk take the plant to 28 inches or better. Miraculous. I understand that giant trees grow from tiny seeds, but tulips grow up and hold forth in the blink of an eye. In the beginning the flowers are small; the red flames are really pink, the white ground is a yellow ivory.
Tulips open in an immature stage; watching the flower grow and change color dramatically is one of their charms. It may take better than a week for that pink to go red, and longer than that for the white to whiten all the way up.
We had a very mild winter; the tulips in the boxes are amazingly good. The box with the maximum amount of exposure to the snow, sun cold and wind tells the story of that exposure. A few bulbs only sprouted undersized leaves. Others of them produced undersized plants and flowers. But by and large, there is quite the show going right now.
As I wrote a long time ago, I grew up without TV-weather was my idea of a one hour drama, movie, or news flash. Buck will watch the weather on TV, but has a very narrow range of tolerance for anything venturing very far from 70 degrees and sunny. I like all kinds of weather-a spring rain is a favorite. What it does for all those things coming to life and growing is beautiful to behold.
Now is such a good time to decide where in your garden some tulips might be just grand. I have 3 yellow tulips at home in my wild garden-the walnut sized flowers have been there for 15 years. I am thinking I do not want to miss this part of spring ever again.