Tulip delights

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Sat, 15 Apr 2006 11:58:24 PDT
As I have written before we have been a bit sun deprived in Northern 
California since some time in February with measurable rain most days and 
sometimes a lot of it. Roads are closed, hillsides are sliding, and a lot 
of my favorite bulbs have been reduced to mush or worse disease. So it was 
with great rejoicing that we saw the sun on Thursday and learned we'd see 
it again on Friday and then have more rain on Saturday and Sunday before a 
potential change in the weather pattern next week bringing our more typical 
spring weather for this time of the year.

I've been watching some Tulipa 'Little Princess' I got from the BX last 
summer courtesy of Cathy Craig. Mark McDonough had given this tulip rave 
reviews when he wrote about dwarf tulips for the topic of the week. I 
couldn't believe how many I got when my package arrived from Dell and how 
big they looked. Still I wasn't sure they would bloom in my climate. I 
prechilled them and for a long time it just looked like leaves and no 
flowers this year. Then buds appeared and I began hoping they would hold 
out until the weather improved. The turning point seems to be when they 
open. Before that rain doesn't seem to be a problem. Afterwards here in 
California (unlike in Holland or apparently Australia) they fall over, the 
petals fall off or turn unattractive.  On Thursday after my hike I rushed 
to look. By that time the sun was gone and it was overcast, but it was 
still warm and that perfect light for photography, bright but no shadows. 
Talk about dazzling. I was thrilled with these bulbs. Thank you, thank you, 
Cathy and Dell. The next day they were equally beautiful. It's raining 
again today. So in spite of the fact that Mark has pictured these on the 
wiki already, I just had to add my pictures of the same.

On Thursday I also took some pictures of my Tulipa batalinii. This one has 
got to be one of my favorites, not only because it is so beautiful, but 
because I have been able to save it year after year and with 4-6 weeks of 
prechilling it returns and blooms nicely. Offsets are relatively quick to 
bloom so most years I'm able to give a blooming pot away to a friend. Many 
years ago I ordered some cultivars that were supposed to be more orange and 
red. I could never tell much difference in them; they all looked yellow to 
me with maybe an orange tinge. This year however, the descendents are much 
more colorful. Maybe the color has something to do with the weather? I 
added pictures of these two even though we had them pictured already. They 
just looked so beautiful with the nice light behind them.

I was grateful for the two beautiful days in a row (even though by Friday 
afternoon again there was some light rain and its wet today.)

Mary Sue

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