Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Return of Shirley Tulips

If you've followed my blog you know that I do know how to trick Tulips into blooming. Once. They seldom return. One year I tried putting them in pots. The puppy ate them.

This year, I left off Tulip bulbs in favor of Hyacinths and Paperwhites.

I was rewarded this spring by the return of a dozen 'Shirley' 
Tulips of the 50 I planted in the fall of 2013.

This is how they looked in 2014. I have 
no idea where the Muscari went.

Vetch is growing in the bed. 2015. It fixes nitrogen, so
I let it grow.

The purple blush comes slowly.

Not a single Moulin Rouge returned. 

I planted out the potted Hyacinth bulbs today. They rarely fail me, that second year. There is that perverse need I have to plant Tulips again every now and then despite their dislike for a warm climate.  

Somebody remind me this fall that I am to plant common Daffodils; no Tulips, no Muscari. Bulbs are meant to last forever. 


  1. I agree with you about the idea that bulbs should last forever, and not be one-trick ponies. Even in Massachusetts, fancy hybrid tulips would always dwindle and eventually disappear. Now I just grow species tulips, which stick around. But given your climate, you probably can't grow those either, since like regular tulips, they also need the winter cold.

  2. I would consider it a miracle to see tulips the first year, much less a second. I absolutely love them but have little luck in growing them in SoCal. Even after the requisite period in the refrigerator, our Santa Ana winds inevitably come along at the worst possible time and, for every dozen I've planted, I see one or 2 in bloom, with the winds withering the rest in bud. Last year, I bought some pre-sprouted ones from a garden center but they died off in less than 3 days - cut flowers in a vase last longer. I've tried the species tulips Alison mentions too but even they don't bloom or come back reliably - and never last more than 2-3 years. Yet, I cave every 5 years or so and buy more bulbs...

  3. How neat that these tulips came back for you. They are lovely.

    Can't grow them down here, so I'll enjoy yours.


  4. I promise to remind you! I used to do that every spring planting delphiniums.

    They just don't last in our hot,humid summers so I finally quit. Maybe the Shirleys will last a few years for you. I will keep my fingers crossed; they are beautiful.

  5. Shirley Tulips! I am looking for those next year. Even though they are annuals in South Texas it's fun to grow things with my name on them. Love the pale pink too.

    As Alison mentioned, hybrid tulips typically decline and I always moved them to the back of the bed after the first year when we lived in New England. Those fabulous public garden displays you see are replanted every year even in the best climate for them.

  6. I have the WORST luck with tulips, and I thought it was just me! I planted 30 two years ago and not a single one bloomed. Last year I planted 60, in different spots, and I'm about to have my first blooms, but less than half look like they will produce flowers. The daffodils never let me down though. They're a joy to have in the spring, and what's better is that they multiply. I even struggle with hyacinths, they come back, but look sadder and sadder each year.

  7. I sure wish tulips naturalized in my garden like paperwhite narcissus. After years of growing those, I have more than I can handle. I've started experimenting with a species tulip that naturalizes here in Texas. I'm excited to see how it does in my garden.

  8. I'm surprised they came back at all, but am so glad they did. I used to have these yellow tulips that came back every year. Otherwise, they are all just annual performers here. ~~Dee

  9. I'm surprised they came back at all, but am so glad they did. I used to have these yellow tulips that came back every year. Otherwise, they are all just annual performers here. ~~Dee

  10. Most of my tulips slowly disappear after a few years. Muscari, on the other hand, multiplies like rabbits.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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