Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Shirley Tulip Mystery

This is what the Shirley Tulips looked like every year before this year.

This is what they look like this year. I'm not sure what happened. It's funny, the Red Ridinghood Tulips (in the background) never bloomed this year, and the shape of the Shirley Tulip even seemed to change. But they are still lovely.

Gavota Tulips

These are my second favorite tulips. I have already planted two other bunches of them to make sure that I had plenty blooming. They just look so regal. I do get a lot of people asking about them, so I know that I am not alone in my admiration. In fact, I was going up to my friend's MIL's house to see the new foals and we passed a house that had a whole garden full of Gavotas. I'm so jealous!

These tulips are easy to grow and multiply readily. They also do not weaken; they bloom just as strong the fourth year as they did the first. That's what I like to have in a tulip- no fuss.

There is one small issue with them. They are supposed to have white edges, but I have noticed that many have yellow edges. They are still pretty, but I do prefer the maroon on white. Those are good Badger colors, while the other colors are U of M colors.

Princess Irene Tulips

These are in my front corner roadside garden. They are my favorite tulips. I have already planted them three years in a row and really would like a whole field of them! They grow very easily and multiply fairly well. They are consistently strong even without fertilization. In fact they look almost as good three years later as they did the spring after planting them.

Orange and Yellow Tulips

Well, I can't always be on top of things. I forgot to write down the names of these tulips when I planted them. Golden Emperor? Blushing Apeldoorn? Your guess is as good as mine right now- but they sure are pretty anyway. The red one in the yellow bunch was an oops from the packager.

Sylvana's Garden Plant List

tea rose "Tiffany"
Jacob's ladder "Bressingham Purple"
hosta "Gold Standard"
hosta "Minuteman"
hosta "Blue Angel"
hosta "Golden Tiara"
rudbeckia "Goldsturm"
astilboides tabularis
tulip "Greenland"
tulip "Arabian Mystery"
tulip "Bright Parrot"

The Saving Grace of a Northern Garden

I often find myself wishing that I lived in a warmer zone so that I could grow more perennials as perennials and not annuals. I'm in an area where the zone actually can fluctuate from zone 5 to zone 3- does not make for easy gardening. We also don't usually get real snow until late December and we have over the years often gotten 70 degree days in January and February. It's that wacky Wisconsin weather. At least twice in Wisconsin in the last 120 years it snowed in July- over three inches each time! So you could say that gardening here can be quite a challenge and you would be so understating it.

Even so, there is one saving grace of living in the North- spring bulbs! I love them! I can't get enough of them! And I don't really have to do anything to them but plant them. The winters are so long and unpredictable. After months of cabin fever, seeing the spring flowers braving the receding snow to show their beautiful little selves is just wonderful.

I have over the years planted literally thousands of spring bulbs, but my favorites are my tulips. Although I do have many of the common red and yellow tulips, I like to find unusual tulips. I have quite a collection and always have my eye out for new varieties to try out. And there is always room for more spring bulbs!

In the Beginning the Earth Was Waste and Void

After years of living in rentals and dreaming over dozens of garden catalogs and books, I finally bought a house. One of the main requirements, of course, was a large yard, because I was through just dreaming about gardens. Well, I found a great house at a great price on a more than respectable lot with even a slight view of a river that runs through town. Ahhh! I was in heaven! Well, at least potentially.

The previous owners had chopped down a large black walnut in the back yard in order to plant a garden (what a shame to lose that tree- over 2 feet in diameter!). The garden, completely vegetable, took up the entire backyard. They tried to reseed before putting the house on the market, but they must have used discount grass seed and they certainly didn't rake it smooth first. So our yard was a mess when we moved in.

I didn't mind so much though. I had BIG plans for the yard which did not include much of a lawn anyway. That was eight years ago. This year is the first year that my gardens have even begun to resemble what was in my mind all those years ago. It's finally time for unveiling them to the world.

This is a journal of my long journey and the things that I learned along the way. I am also using this to keep track of the things that I do and where the hell I put things (nothing is quite as irritating as planting $50 worth of plants one year only to pull them as weeds because you forgot what they were). I hope to not only help others, but to get help from them in return. And, of course, I really just am so proud of my gardens that I just have to brag!