Flower Friday: Tulips

Since moving to Chicago, spring has become one of my favorite seasons. Seeing bright and cheerful flowers after a long few months of cold and snow does wonders for my always-a-Californian-at-heart soul. Tulips are one of my favorite spring blooms.

Tulips are members of the lily family, and there are about 75 different species. In the Midwest, tulips are planted in October, so they can overwinter and bloom in April to May-ish. The flowers and leaves die back in the month or so after blooming, sending all the plant’s collected energy back into the bulb for storage until the next bloom cycle.

We know that tulips were cultivated in Istanbul as early as 1055. By the 15th century, they were among the most prized flowers, and they finally became popular in the West by the 16th century. Now we often associate them with the Netherlands, the top major tulip producer of the world. I would love to visit the tulip farms there one day.

Anyhoo, here are some pics of the tulips I planted with the elementary school kids I volunteer with. We planted over 400 bulbs, and I think about 25% actually managed to bloom. But I’ll take it. 🙃

8 thoughts

  1. Beautiful! I’ve always tried to recreate my grandmothers tulip garden. A few years back we spent hundreds of dollars loading up a circle garden with tulip bulbs, and we didn’t know we had voles and moles living under there. It was devastating! One day I plan to bury fence in the ground and restart. They’re such beautiful flowers—probably my favorite. 🧡

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    1. Oh no! That is such a bummer. I had a friend who once planted 400 bulbs…and planted every single one upside down! Sigh, these are the mistakes we make. Nothing much to do about critters, though. Once they stake their claim, you just have to work around them. But all that hard work, ugh!

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  2. I have been to the tulip fields and Keukenhoff. I broke my heart that it was closed this year…all that work and beauty wasted. I wonder why so few of your tulips bloomed? I plant about 1,000 bulbs every autumn and nearly all bloom (the deer eat a few buds before I remember to spray repellent, the squirrels dig up a few, the hubbie mows off a corner too close…..Very few of mine return because I water the gardens too much in summer, since there are colorful annuals and perennials that share the same space with the tulips that need water here in Indiana’s hot summers. Enjoyed your post. Be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that sounds amazing! Hopefully I’ll get there some day… 🤞🏼 I think our bloom rate was so low because it was 5 to 8 year olds doing the planting. And it’s just me supervising, so I try to tell them how deep to plant but I know it never works out exactly right. 😂 I finally decided it was more important for them to be able to experiment with real gardening than to have a perfectly manicured garden, you know? Even if all of our bulbs didn’t pop, at least I know the experience made an impression on them. 😃

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