Nothing lasts forever. Beauty is fleeting. You’re heard these hackneyed sayings many times. But maybe this year they’re worth taking a little more seriously. Maybe the past few months have provided further compelling emphasis that it can all be taken away—just like that.
My big time to plan for a brief few weeks of beauty in the garden comes now, at bulb-planting season. And, no, I don’t care that hybrid tulips falter after two–three years—I don’t expect mine to remain even that long. Every year, I fill big containers with various hybrid tulips and stash them in the garage until April. Then they come out and get placed where they’ll have the best impact, close to the house. This, you will surmise, keeps them away from bulb-eating creatures, though it’s not my main concern. Tulips look best in tight, colorful groups, not scattered about or—worse—lined up, and I don’t care to have the big hybrids cluttering up my perennial beds (though I’ve softened on that and they are creeping in).
As I often forget which ones I’ve put in which pots, it’s always fun to watch them come up and see what mixtures work and which do not. I also have them in equally crowded circular raised beds, where they are replaced by big tropicals for the summer.
The big question is what to do after they bloom. I should add that this is a big question for others, not for me. I have to get my summer annuals into those pots, so the tulips have to fade away into the compost. Bye, tulips: I’m done with you until next year. Well, at least until August, anyway, when my new bulb catalogs arrive and I try to find interesting varieties I’ve not tried yet.
Judging from what I’m seeing on social media, many more gardeners are turning to bulbs; I see a lot of newbie questions and the usual amount of bizarre advice. I also saw this, on the Brent and Becky’s website: Due to an unprecedented volume of orders that we have been receiving, we have suspended accepting any new orders until Tuesday, October 6th. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
That tells you something.
Welcome, unprecedented bulb buyers! I hope you get as much enjoyment from your fleeting weeks of beauty as I do.