Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday was the best day of the year so far!

And so, we covered some ground. I visited some old gardens and some current clients and generally enjoyed spring in Washington, which is not so extravagantly acclaimed as spring in Paris, but is still a great experience. This is a wonderful city for trees and gardens.

Tulips were everywhere; this is a good year for them with adequate moisture and cool soil and air temperatures. I do love mass plantings, but leave them to gardens with deep pockets. They really do need to be pulled out every year because the inevitable incremental decline is so obvious in a large planting. The number of flowers usually shrinks and the size almost always shrinks. Still, if you plant them in clumps, this isn't such a problem. Dig a hole a foot or so in diameter and dump in a dozen bulbs. It'll be great the next spring and if it's a bit less impressive the following year that'll be okay. I've had clumps that were still attractive after 5 years. There are lists and lists of "perennial" tulips, that is varieties that don't decline, but I don't know....our summers are just a bit too hot, too humid, and too wet to optimize tulip performance.

Having said that, I must admit that there are species tulips that increase in number, seeding around, and forming bigger clumps by offsets. They have a delicate beauty and I grow them but they're not the same as the large-flowered gaudy varieties!

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