Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tulips and I Need Some Help

It's been a colorful spring for our yard.  The tulips have been productive, although I've definitely noted slowing in the cultivars I planted several years ago.  Shayla's Favorites (I have no idea what these are actually called; in my mind, they are always and forever Shayla's Favorites) are still producing the same number of blooms, but they're beginning to show their age with multiple blemishes on the petals.  Just not quite as hale and hearty as they used to be.  If I can find more of the exact same type- or more accurately, if I can remember to look for them in the first place- I'd like to fill in this bed with new bulbs of the same shade this fall.

I did the thing last fall where I plant a bunch of new tulips, don't write it down anywhere (except maybe here), forget over the winter, and surprise myself with fresh flowers in the spring.  I am so dang thoughtful.
These were unusual in that both Derek and two of the kids commented on how pretty they are. Every so often I drag various members of my family around the yard, forcing them to admire all the beauty I'm filling it with, but they don't generally make comments on the contents of my flower beds.  I was a little shocked to hear these compliments, and may or may not have made each person repeat themselves several times just to make sure we were talking about the same thing.  "Hang on- what?  Which flowers?  Those?  The tulips?  You think those tulips are pretty?  You like those?  Did Daddy tell you to say that?  He didn't?  Well, say it again.  Please."
They're possibly even better when viewed from above.  Excuse my favorite running shoes, photobombing a perfectly good tulip photo.

I always wonder why I planted the tulips below when their buds first form, as they're a somewhat unflattering yellow hue with just a hint of purple on the edges- "Shirley" tulips, because it turns out I do keep a label or two.  This photo is a few days after they first opened.
Over a period of weeks, however, they only become more beautiful as time wears on, and I remember how much I love them.  They bloomed for around three weeks, so they're some of the hardest working tulips we have.
Caedmon's getting better the older he gets, too.  Actually, all our kids are.  It's fantastic.

These surprised me.  I'd forgotten Derek's mom gave me some Gryffindor tulips last fall ("Gryffindor"- another tulip name I made up to suit my own whims and fancies).
I took that picture early in the morning as my family waited in the car, all packed and ready for a trip.  I was afraid the tulips wouldn't still be blooming when we returned, and just had to snap a picture before we left.

I think it's safe to say I was not everyone's favorite person when we returned home to these.

I was happy, anyway.

We have all kinds of other  delightful blooms dotting our yard right now, but what I'm excited about is this:

I need someone to make me a tiny sign like you see outside commercial construction sites:  "Future Home of Gladioluseseses, Zinnias, and Delphinium."

And now, for the help I so severely need (save the wisecracks, jokesters).

See this patch of yard, all around our dogwood tree?  Nothing will grow here.  Do you hear me?  Nothing.

"But Kristy," I hear you say.  "I see a number of green somethings growing in this picture."  Let me amend my statement to nothing you would want to grow in your yard is here.  That front-and-center space in our yard is 80% creeping Charlie, 20% grass.  Those little white things are the dogwood petals that have recently been blown and rained down upon the ground.

I have tried daffodils.  I have tried phlox.  I have even gone against my flower-loving heart and tried grass seed, all to no avail.  This is the Dead Zone, take heed all who venture and attempt to root here.

So tell me, friends, what do I plant here?  It's boxed in by sidewalks and our driveway, so I'm okay with trying something with a spreading habit.  It gets little sunlight, and the roots of that tree are very close to the surface.  We do walk through this a lot, but for the most part it's on stepping stones to get from the driveway to our front steps. 

Suggestions?  Anyone?  Please?


  1. Beautiful tulips :-) I have some with that same color combination as your first photo (although different shape, so not the same variety). And I'm really loving all the multi-color tulip varieties. And it's always nice to find a sweet child in the garden as well.

    For that dead space, have you tried the species columbine? It likes shade, and it normally grows in the woods, so it might not mind tree roots. I've been spreading mine around in various places, and if you spread seeds in the fall, they seem to grow in the spring. It does take a year for them to flower, but the little clumps of green foliage are nice too.

  2. I. LOVE. MY. TULIPS. Got that????? Beautiful flowers and love the original name! And rhubarb....how's that rhubarb doing? And the tree....fake flowers? Have Jon make a flower box around the tree, fill it with fake flowers and then even in winter you'll have whatever flower you feel like having...budding through the snow! I know...I'm a genius...you're welcome.


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