We planted about a thousand tulip bulbs this week. It was an act of faith in both the future and the cycle of life. It was done with an eye to a spring that will come after a winter that isn’t yet upon us. The bulbs themselves are little balls of potential, stuffed with energy derived from the sun, that will burst forth with life after the cold has retreated out of the ground.
Frank couldn’t help but think about warm days to come as he dug the trench for our tulips. We set them side by side row by row, bid them farewell, and covered them with rich, fertile soil for a months-long nap. When the soil warms in the spring, small, green shoots will emerge and push their way up through the ground to the surface. One stalk per bulb. One flower per stalk in a rainbow of colors and a kaleidoscope of leaf shapes.
In April or May, long before most annuals grown from seed are even in the ground, our tulips will be in their full glory. When their buds just begin to disclose their hues with the first blush of color, we’ll gently harvest them by pulling them up, bulb and all, and carefully storing them in crates until we can get them to market. Demand is always high for tulips. People love them and any we still have for sale come Mother’s Day will be grabbed up as special gifts for loved ones.