I’ll just tell you: I’m a real sissy for the tulips. I tiptoe through ‘em like a regular falsetto.
It started years ago – the last century, I think.
Shalah and I had one of our best vacations, starting in Amsterdam. We caught a bus to Haarlem where some famous tulip place existed. Franz something, I think it was. Franz Rosen, I want to say.
I wasn’t terribly excited by the expedition, until, that is, we got there.
Fields as far as you could see, swarming with tulips standing straight and of all the bright and beautiful colors and variegations.
They would ask where you lived and invite you to purchase your favorites and they would mail the bulbs to you at the proper time for you to plop in the ground where you lived.
We bought. Pretty big. I may still be carrying some residual damage on the American Express.
The bulbs came by UPS in stages, before and just after Christmas, and I took the bulb-maker and poked hundreds of holes in the front yard and back.
That early-to-mid spring at our house was a wonderland, and I do not lie.
People would stop their cars and get out and look and take pictures, and ask things like where we found those tri-colored tulips at the side of the front steps.
From time to time a smattering of those would come back and some years we’d buy a few more bulbs locally. But it was never the same. And the squirrels would get them. I guess it was the squirrels. The bulb holes would be opened and empty, the dirt upturned.
So late last summer or early fall, I got one of those marketing emails and made the impulse buy. Some outfit would sell me tulips and send me the bulbs when the time was right for my climate. I made my selections, a hundred bulbs, and punched in my credit card number.
It was my biggest impulse buy off an email since the tangerine and turquoise fiesta ware showed up on the porch that time.
It bothered me that the bulbs arrived in a box almost immediately – in October, I think it was. Surely it wasn’t time to plant them, I thought, and I put the box aside and went my merry way.
And forgot it until Shalah saw the box in mid-January and asked what that was.
Oh, dear, I said. It’s wasted money and bulbs that will never make tulips now, I said.
She grabbed the box and the bulb hole puncher and proceeded furiously to inject them into pots and sections of flower beds on the front, side and back of the house.
I advised her not to waste her time – that October was too soon, but mid-January too late, being learned as I am in matters of tulip timing.
Today, being obsessive, I counted 64 tulips, front and back and side – bright yellow changing to orange, bright orange changing to yellow, solid yellow, solid orange and then these little miniature tulipy things that peek out in three cup-forming sections of orange and yellow variegations.
I like orange and yellow and a blend – for flowers. I don’t want to wear them, necessarily.
Saturday would have been the day for the tulip festival around here. Today is drab and a few of the tulips are on the downhill side.
I’d post pictures but I don’t know how to put pictures on the blog, and, anyway, we have too much instant photography and not enough word description and imagination these days.