Tulips, Tulips, and More Tulips!
I wanted to take a bus trip to Mackinac Island, MI a few years back. Hubby said he didn't want to try a long bus trip for the first time, so he settled on a short bus trip to the Tulip Festival in Holland MI. First day there, they took us to the Windmill Island Gardens. We walked through many pathways of beautiful tulips. At the end of the tour, the exit was through a big tent where they displayed pictures of the various tulips that were in the gardens. Conveniently, there were order blanks placed on the tables. So, we checked this box and that box, and gave the sheet to the cashier at the end of the tent. Paid the amount and was told these would come in the Fall for proper planting time. Second day, we enjoyed parades, a great dinner, and an evening show. The last day, they took us to a tulip farm. With pencil and paper in hand, we jotted down the corresponding numbers of the tulips of our choice. Again, we handed over our sheet with selections and paid the man, who said we would receive shipment in the Fall. We truly enjoyed our trip to the Tulip Festival. It wasn't until we were traveling home on the bus when hubby asked, "Just how many tulips did we buy?!?" The count was .... over 400! We actually added more later, but quality wasn't as good as MI trip tulips.
When we decided to move to Sunnyside from our home in Elkton, I dug up the tulips in the Fall and dried these on paper in the garage. Then I placed about 1/2 dozen in a paper lunch bag filled with wood shavings. When we got to Sunnyside, we had them build a new box for our tulips and were very happy that a lot of the varieties made it! We had moved to Elkton in 2014 from South Carolina where it is too hot to grow tulips, so this was really a first time for me.
In regard to caring for the tulips - before planting, we added bone meal and peat moss. After planting, we mulched about 2-3 inches deep. If there is going to be several days of cold 32-degree weather or below, and tulip buds are showing at the base of the leaves, we cover the tulips with cloth (old bed sheets). If it's only an overnight temp below 32, the tulips can survive without covering. A light snow, like the one we had recently, doesn't hurt these. On chilly mornings, the tulips shut their petals tightly; as soon as the sun comes out, they open their petals once more. The little picket fence is hopefully to deter the deer, as deer love tulip bulbs, but supposedly don't like picket fences.
Oh, and now that the tulips have almost finished their bloom time, I snap off the top seed pod, and let the tulips take that energy to go back into the bulbs. I let the leaves dry out completely before cleaning up the bed.