Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Two Lips

Rescued Tulips. This is probably the first time these bulbs have flowered in fifty years. I have no idea how they survived in the woods where I found them.

G A R D E N I N G — I found these Tulips in an old garden on the property 4-5 years ago. Well, I found the leaves of these plants 4-5 years ago. There is a large part of the property that has gone back to 'woods.' The last time the entire yard was cleared and allowed full sunlight was, most likely, at least fifty years ago. I recognized the tulip leaves and checked on them each spring, assuming that I had always missed the blooms. Under their canopy of trees however, I realized they never flowered. 

I have no idea how the bulbs survived so long in the ground without blooming. Tulips are not exactly the most hearty of perennials-in fact, I've found that between voles and chipmonks and our New England weather, most Tulips need to be replanted every couple of years go thrive. These bulbs must be a very sturdy old stock. I transplanted them last year, into my full-sun perennial garden, and voila! I have gorgeous Peppermint Tulips now. 

"Rescuing" plants is something I learned from my late mother. I can't tell you how many times we dug up fine old-stock perennials or rare wildflowers the night before bulldozers arrived to build new homes or stores. It almost became our trademark, with friends/neighbors actually telling us about old properties about to be razed and redeveloped so we could 'go in' and dig up the flowers first. Once they were established in our yard, we made a habit of dividing them and giving them to friends, to pay it forward, as it were.

Why Two Lips in the title? When I was a wee tyke, I thought these plants were called Two Lips, and I would STARE at the Tulips in our yard for hours on end, trying to see how anyone could see two lips on them, lol.

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