With this semester being such a pain in the butt, it's very easy to just write about the cats (and the lingering kitty-shaped hole in our hearts.) However, today I do have a plant-related post to share with you. Since today is Thursday, and Thursdays are now "reserved" for goofing off and general mental decompression, I finally wandered up the road to the little garden center by the new house. It's not the huge, spiffy nursery that was by the old house, but what the heck ... I can't keep schlepping 30 minutes out of my way every time I need to do some shopping, so I thought I'd give it a try.
This being October in Colorado, their selection wasn't stellar - lots of garden mums, pumpkins and assorted gourds, some half-price perennials that need to get planted right quick if they aren't going to end up on the compost heap, and the usual houseplants, gift items and garden tools and supplies. All in all, nothing to write home about. But just inside the front entrance, there were several display shelves/bins full of bulbs. I didn't pay a lot of attention to them when I went in - I think I've become used to the bulb displays in Lowe's and Home Depot, which are always more of the same old, same old. But since I was wandering around with my pie pumpkin ($1.10 for the cutest little pumpkin you ever did see!), trying to figure out where the heck I was supposed to go to find an open register, I got to looking at the bulbs and found these:
These are "Shirley" tulips, and the photo really doesn't do them justice. When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I had a big ol' container bed of these babies, and they were just the coolest tulips ever. They're late bloomers, which is nice for a shot of color after a lot of the other bulbs have petered out in the garden, and they have the neatest color progression I've seen. As the flower bulbs develop, they go from green to yellow to a pale, buttery cream color before they start to open. The cream fades almost to white, and then they start to develop little thin streaks of purple on the petals. The streaks get bigger and longer and turn a deeper purple as the bloom matures, until by the time the petals drop off, they're mostly purple with just a few white streaks. They are the coolest tulips ever, and I had never seen them for sale in Colorado until today. So when I finally figured out where to go to pay for my things, I plunked down my $8 for the bag o' bulbs (and the pumpkin) and went happily on my way.
I promised myself that I wouldn't plant anything this fall, but obviously that has fallen by the wayside. But I don't think 10 tulip bulbs are a major violation. Besides, there was nostalgia involved. I think I'm going to plant them in the bed right next to the garage door so that I can see them every day as I come and go. That way I'll get to enjoy the color progression, but they'll be away from the sidewalk where they might tempt passing elementary school students to pick them. Let 'em get their own flowers.
(Yes, yes, I know - more photos swiped from the web. If the folks at Tulip World really object, they can send me a C&D letter and I'll take it down. At least I left their URL on the photo.)