Not sure why I love tulips, but I do. And, I am not alone. I saw a survey the other day that said tulips were second only to roses as the most loved and most recognized flower in the world. No matter how much I love them though, they always break my heart. My relationship with them is like a bad romance. Each fall, they promise to do right by me. I take them back into my home (again), kick the moldy vegetables out of the crisper for them, wrap them in the breathable bags they love and then keep them cool and dark for the next five months. Come February I place them is the richest, loosest soil I can find. I buy them lovely accessories and plant companions for them so they won’t be lonely. Then, come March, they break my heart (again) by blooming on squat little stalks with spindly petals that never last.
This fall, Sally and I bought a cute little antique wheelbarrow at an auction. Despite my experience I thought, “Won’t that look great full of tulips?” So, with the wheelbarrow still in the back of the truck, I went to my local nursery and bought another bag of tulip bulbs. I took the wheelbarrow home and drilled my drain holes. In January, I filled the wheelbarrow with potting soil and planted 24 alyssum plants around the rim. Then, I took the tulips out of the refrigerator and prayed.
I am very happy to report, this year the tulips finally did right by me! Their stalks are tall and jaunty. The flowers are an amazingly beautiful pink. For the past week it has been a true joy to come home and have these lovely ladies waiting for me at the back door.
While I am so proud of my tulips this year, the Lord made sure I did not get too prideful or boastful. Two weeks ago he sent a massive, late season ice storm that killed all of the alyssum that I had planted to enhance my lady’s beauty. I guess this is appropriate as it is Lent. We would not want me to become too prideful during this season of preparation.
If you are not afraid of a broken heart, my experience has shown me that you can grow tulips in Texas. Buy them early in the fall and keep them refrigerated for months. Then plant them in early February in deep, rich soil. Keep the soil moist and pray for a cool spring.