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. 🙃