Sometimes Mondays . . .
Unraveled . . . in a big way

Tulip Tales


Last spring, I created a Mom-garden in memory of my mom, and I planted it full of her favorite summer flowers on Mother's Day.  (You can read about it here.)  The little garden grew and flourished , bringing me smiles and happy memories all summer long.

I've cleared the garden out for the season now, though.  It's resting again until spring.


Earlier this fall, I ordered spring bulbs from White Flower Farm, and I've been . . . waiting . . . to plant them.  The weather hasn't really been cooperating when it comes to bulb-planting this fall.  Although we've had cool, wet weather, we haven't had a real frost yet -- let alone a freeze.  So it's still a bit early to plant bulbs (but, surely, getting close).

Included in that bulb order?  Mixed tulip bulbs -- for my Mom-garden.  I don't usually plant tulips in my own garden.  I love tulips -- but they tend to be a bit more hit-and-miss than most spring bulbs.  The squirrels really love them, they don't naturalize well, and they perform best if you dig them up and replace them each season.  Which is really too much work for me. . . So I tend to enjoy tulips in other people's gardens!  


My mom LOVED tulips!  

Late yesterday afternoon, I happened to glance out my kitchen window at the now-empty Mom-garden.  It was bathed in sunlight.  (In fact, it was the only spot in my garden still getting any of the quickly setting sunlight.)


The garden beckoned!

I grabbed my gardening stuff and headed out to plant my 30 tulip bulbs.


And while I was digging and planting and filling, I thought about my mom and her tulips.  I remembered . . . 

How she used to cut stems of spring tulips for me when I was a little girl, and then carefully wrap them in a wet napkin and a baggie so I could carry them to school to give my teacher.

How she planted tulips in her own gardens each fall -- with a variety of bloom times so there would be maximum tulip bloom throughout the spring.

How a couple of years ago, the two of us worked together on a very miserable-cold afternoon to plant bulbs for one of her neighbors who was struggling with a health issue and unable to plant her own bulbs.  My mom wanted everyone to enjoy the magic of colorful tulips after a bleak winter.

How much she loved volunteering in the Tulip Time Festival Information booth each May in Holland -- tiptoeing through the tulips in her own wooden shoes!*


My memories made for a wonderful bulb-planting afternoon.  It was almost like . . . gardening with my mom again.

(On a roll, I decided she would probably like some grape hyacinths, too.)


When I was finished planting, I packed up my stuff and turned to head back to my garage -- and was awestruck by the sun shining over my back gate -- looking down on me with warmth and light.


I'm thinking those tulips are going to be especially gorgeous next spring.  Y'know?


* We donated my mom's Tulip Time costume to the folks who run the Information Booth, so it will continue to greet visitors to Holland's Tulip Time Festival each spring.



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I think your mom was sending her approval. xoxo


I love this idea! A mom garden is going on my list. What a beautiful tribute.


I think that lovely sky was your mom saying she is proud of you. xo


What an incredibly beautiful (and meaningful) tribute to your mom. I can't wait to see it in all its glory next spring! XO


What a lovely way to honor and remember your mom!

Cheryl S.


Some tulips definitely naturalize better than others - I have some species tulips that have been in the ground for 20 years and are still doing OK. (They actually DO need to be dug up, just because they've formed a rather dense clump.) Most of the others are pretty good for a few years at least. But yeah, I hear you on that.

I do have a tip for the squirrels, though: put sections of chicken wire over the bulbs when you plant them. It also helps if you interplant them with daffodils, since the squirrels don't like the scent of those.

I used those tricks when I lived in the foothills and had problems with deer and squirrels. It worked pretty well to protect the bulbs, but sometimes just when the tulips were at their peak, the deer would decide to come eat all the flowers. Sigh.


This is a wonderful tribute to your mom and her love for tulips and YOU. I'm so glad you did this and you've inspired me to plant some bulbs. Yeah, I know, I say that every year.


I've never known tulips to bring tear to my eyes before, but your Mom-garden tulip-planting story has. What a beautiful tribute, full of love and memories, and I can't wait to see the blooms in the spring.


Oh, this is such a wonderful post -- full of hope & memories, gardens & tulips, sunshine & happiness, and your lovely mother, of course. xo

Linda Huson

I've always loved tulips... first time tho, that they've made me cry...

Lovely tribute to your Mom....

Linda in VA


The tulip garden will bring you even more wonderful memories in the spring when all the bulbs bloom! Thank you for sharing this lovely tribute and for sharing your mother's love of gardening. Nature approves of the beautiful way you're honoring your mother and her love of the garden. xox


Your mom lives on in your garden!


What a lovely post and tribute to your mother. I'm so happy that you shared this with us and I look forward to tulips in bloom next year. Iris and Lilies remind me of my mom...last October I planted iris and I was sooo tickled when they bloomed in the summer. So looking forward to next summer's yield.


I can't help but think that spot in your garden is going to get more than its share of winter sun ... and I expect the tulips and hyacinths will pay a beautiful tribute to your mom come spring!

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