So much of what we do at Blue Gables Farm is an exercise in faith. When you plant, there are numerous variables that you can’t control — weather, disease, pests and markets. When you plant in the fall with an eye to the following spring, there is even more trepidation.
As you may recall, we put 1,000 tulip bulbs in the ground last November. Fast forward to this week and that work is paying off. We are harvesting dozens of tulips in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes. As is almost always the case with planting, not all of the bulbs grew. And some that grew were preyed upon by rabbits, but enough survived and bloomed to make the tulip patch in our garden spectacular.
People Love Them
It’s hard to gauge, but our customers might like tulips more than sunflowers. They are easily the top two in popularity. So many people’s memories are tied to tulips. They remember a favorite garden, or a relative’s house, or a town square or a church yard where tulips marked the beginning of spring and rebirth of hope and return to abundance after a cold, dark, fallow winter.
Tulips are Edible
Critters aren’t the only ones who eat tulips. Some people dine on them, too. In fact, there are recipes for tulip petals stuffed with chocolate mousse. To be fair, though, they aren’t very tasty. Most instances of tulip consumption were in times of famine when desperately hungry people had little choice, as was the case in Holland during WWII when the Dutch were starving and did what was necessary to survive.
So Much Variety!
There are so many colors, shapes and sizes of tulips it can be dizzying. They range from conventional shapes in Easter colors to dark blue, purple and black “Peonies” varieties. There are feathered petals, pointed ones and some that remain green even when open. We grew 12 varieties this year, and all but one succeeded. The traditional varieties tended to be the toughest in terms of survival and vase life, but all tulips make good cut flowers that normally last at least a week in the vase with regular water changes.