It happens every year.
I tell myself I'm not going to order bulbs for next spring. I'll just stick with the perennials already in the ground and be happy with what I have.
But, inevitably, it's all a big fat lie.
The lie happens in stages. The catalogs start showing up displaying tulips in varying shades of glorious color, and my mind drifts back to the spring a few years ago.
When you see those first tulips start to poke through the ground in late winter, it's such a wonderful, reassuring reminder that better weather is on it's way. By early March, I had a rainbow of hyacinths lining the sidewalk, lily and parrot tulips dancing across the beds...it was lovely. Cars slowed down as they passed my house. People walking by would stop and nod in appreciation. Ah, how it made my head swell.
What's funny is that you'd think tulips and hyacinths would perennialize ok here in Texas, but they really don't. Daffodils do well, but I don't particularly care for them. So, each year I've set about buying new bulbs...and have had terrible luck ever since my big-headed experience of a couple of years ago.
Thankfully, I do keep better gardening records than I used to. After my husband and I moved late last summer (almost a year ago...wow!), I ordered a modest amount of bulbs -- tulips and daffodils -- for the new landscape, not knowing what might already be there. Well, the ones I ordered did horribly. Most didn't come up, and the ones that did were not the color I'd ordered. So I'll be avoiding that particular company for bulbs and trying another this year.
Here's what I've ordered so far (from Van Bourgondien):
Tulip 'Ballade Dream' (shown at right)
Tulip violacea 'Pallida'
Muscari 'Dark Eyes'
With my order I'll also get 10 free red species tulips.
(Lots of people have given VB a bad rating over at Garden Watchdog, but I've been ok with them so far.)
I'm looking to pair the 'Ballade Dream' with some solid yellow lily-flowering tulips. A black/purple Triumph Tulip variety called 'Jackpot' has also caught my eye, and I think they would be lovely paired with some solid white, similar-shaped tulips. So, credit card in hand, here I go...
Meanwhile, back at the ranch here in Texas:
We have had weird, individual stormcells strike various parts of DFW over the past 10 days. Last Friday I couldn't even leave my office at 6 p.m., the rain was so torrential. When I got to the house just 11 miles away, we'd barely received a drop. The next day was a different story, though. My two 75-gallon rainbarrels got a good filling.
Incidentally, my 6' Blue Horizon vine is now covered in forming flower buds, so I'll be taking the coolest picture ever in a couple of days. Will be sure to share, of course. (The picture at left is not from my plant.)
I enlisted the help of a Rat Zapper to get rid of the rest of them. Usually I am very welcoming of animals in my landscape but with rats, it's a different story. We ended up zapping two adults and two babies, in addition to the adult who encountered Death By Eggplant.
It is interesting to walk around the Test Gardens at the Texas A&M Research Center where our classes will be held. If a plant survives the test period (four years, I think they said) without any pesticides or fertilizers, it is declared a Texas Superstar.
While walking through the test garden, I of course found myself rummaging through my purse for pencil and paper to write down the names of plants that caught my eye.
It's an addiction, you know, this gardening thing.