Spring with tulips never ceases to amaze Features

Tulips are my favorite bulbs! Having spent a third of my life in the Pacific Northwest and another third in the northern mountains of New Mexico, I’ve grown accustomed to buying dozens of tulips, tossing them in the ground in the fall, and watching them sprout in the spring. . very easy! They are so beautiful, their brightly colored petals and happy faces reaching for the spring sun. Spring with tulips never ceases to excite me.

I’ve been in East Texas for about 20 months, and as soon as the first fall arrived, I happily purchased 50-60 tulip bulbs to put in my garden and expected their happy faces to appear en masse in April.

Being a recent retiree, I decided to sign up for classes with the Smith Country Master Gardeners (SCMG) program. One of the first lectures of the class was on planting bulbs. Lots of different bulbs grow well in East Texas! But unfortunately, tulips are not among them.

Sure enough, while I was looking forward to seeing the tulips in bloom this year (and was stubbornly holding out hope that they would turn out beautifully), only less than half of them bloomed. Some were very small, others looked almost transformed. Only a few looked normal.

“Sigh,” I thought. “I would just dig up the bulbs after the flowers fell and give them to my daughter (who lives in a different state) to plant in the fall. Around May, I mentioned that I had dug them up. What came out of the ground certainly looked nothing like what I had put in it months before. The bulbs are like dried apples that people like to make dolls with. With many (which never bloomed), I ended up with a hand full of bulb poop!

It wasn’t cold enough in the winter at my house, and it got too hot, too fast, and then too humid for them in the spring. According to an online article I found from Florida Yards, (https://www.floridayards.org/when-to-plant-tulip-bulbs-in-texas/) we can still enjoy tulips in East Texas when the following conditions are present: :

• Bulbs should be refrigerated for 10 weeks before planting (keep between 35-45 degrees F).

• Next, they should be planted six weeks before the first hard frost (below 28°F), likely sometime in November or December.

• They should be considered annual plants, never appearing after the initial flowering period.

• The flowering period in East Texas will be shortened (lasting several days instead of the usual two weeks).

If you are willing to live with these conditions after spending a pretty penny (as I did) on 50-60 bulbs, you should enjoy sunny tulips sometime in the spring for a few days or a week at most. For me, I’m learning to look forward to other bulbs popping up in my garden – like daffodils! I have heard from several people in my SCMG program that they are doing great work in East Texas!

Our 25th Annual Bulbs to Flowers Conference and Sale is scheduled for October 21! The online store will open on October 9, followed by the in-person sale and conference. We hope to see you there! We will have a good selection of these lamps for sale at Bullard United Methodist Church. Check out the Smith County Master Gardener Facebook page for additional information at www.facebook.com/SmithCountyMasterGardeners/ or visit our website at www.txmg.org/smith/events.

Smith County Master Gardener Program iA volunteer organization in connection with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension service.

(tags for translation) Spring

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