Garden Talk (2023): Enjoying the Short Lived Tulips 🌷

Here comes the Tulips

It’s been awhile since I shared a garden post and today I am excited to share with you the blooms in my garden. Our Spring here in Vancouver has been colder than usual not to mention quite a lot of rainy days. The cold weather and the long rainy days affected the vegetable and flowers in the garden. The vegetable took a long time to grow, and the flowers are stuck from opening up and growing. Good news coming 🙂 The long 2 weeks of rainy days are now gone and has been replaced by sunny glorious days. I can use more days like these. The heat is on, and the flowers are finally in bloom.

Let’s me show you what I have in the garden now. Let’s start with Daffodils 🌼


This is my first time planting Daffodils, and I am very pleased with how it turned out. The vibrant yellow color brings joy in the garden. I love how they are easy to grow. They grow on almost any type of soil and requires less maintenance. They have long stem, tall enough to be a cut flower if I want to arrange them in a vase but I opted to leave them in the garden.

🌷 Tulips

Let’s go to the star of the show, Tulips 💐. I feel like Spring is not complete without the sighting of Cherry Blossoms and Tulips. These two are the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Spring.

This year is the 3rd year that I planted Tulips, and the only year that I was actually successful. It was a test of patience. I had to motivate myself to juts keep on trying. Every year is a new learning to me.

The first year that I planted Tulips, I planted all of them in a container in my patio. I was really excited, but it was a complete disaster. Not a single one came out. Turned out my containers although they have holes retains so much moisture. But in fairness, part of the mistake was mine. I kept on watering them ended up rotting. It was a first year of disaster with Tulips.

On the second year, I learned my lesson not to plant them in my wooden containers. I planted them firstly in the garden. I was hopeful that the 2nd year will be better. Guess what? Nature did not cooperate with me.

Last year we had so much rain that most of my flower bulbs not only tulips did not came out. Too much rain. It was not just the flowers, even the vegetables were not as abundant. We basically don’t have Spring vegetables.

So comes the 3rd year, this year. I tried my luck again and planted 100 Tulip bulbs in my garden. I bought mix variety, Parrot Tulips and the Multi layered Tulips. I can only hope that this will be the year that I will actually get to see them bloom.

Guess what? They actually came out!! Quite slow because of colder Spring and rainy days but it was not as bad as last year. Tulips started opening up this week, the first week of sunny days after 2 weeks of gloomy rainy days. All it need was sun and a warmer weather. There goes the bloom!

Not all of them have opened yet. The first one to bloom are the multi layered Tulips in the colors of yellow and orange. I fell in love with them. They’re not long stemed like the single petals but they are gorgeous. The layers of petals makes it look fuller and more beautiful. I cannot take my eyes of them.

The long stemmed Parrot Tulips 🌷 and the others are still waiting to open up, but I can slightly see the color of the petals. Some red are coming and some peach and cream as well. I am so excited to visit the garden everyday to see them open up.

I have them scattered at the back of the garden and at the front entrance of the garden. I had to plant some of them in containers. I will move all the one on the containers on the ground once they are done blooming.

I am so happy with how the flowers on my garden this year are coming along. Summer is still far away, but I have more Summer flowers that last year. So stay tuned for that.

About Tulips

Tulips normally begin emerging from the ground in late winter or early spring. If unseasonably mild weather causes premature growth in winter, the danger is not as great as it may seem. Tulips (and daffodils, too) are quite cold tolerant. If freezing winter temperatures return, it may delay growth, however. Snow is actually helpful in this case, as it can insulate the foliage from extreme cold. 

How Soon to Plant Tulips

Tulip bulbs are planted in the autumn before the ground freezes. By planting varieties with different bloom times, you can have tulips blooming from early to late spring. Some types are good for forcing into bloom indoors and most are excellent for use as cut flowers, too.

Tulip flowers are usually cup-shaped with three petals and three sepals. There’s a tulip for every setting, from small “species” tulips in naturalized woodland areas to larger tulips that fit formal garden plantings from beds to borders. The upright flowers may be single or double, and vary in shape from simple cups, bowls, and goblets to more complex forms. Height ranges from 6 inches to 2 feet. One tulip grows on each stem, with two to six broad leaves per plant.

Are Tulips Annual or Perennial?

Although tulips are technically a perennial, many centuries of hybridizing means that the bulb’s ability to come back year after year has weakened. Therefore, many gardeners treat them as annuals, planting new bulbs every autumn. The North American climate and soil can’t replicate the ancient Anatolian and southern Russian conditions of their birth. Gardeners in the western mountainous regions of the U.S. come closest to this climate, and may have more success perennializing their tulips.

When to Plant Tulips

  • Plant tulip bulbs in the fall, 6 to 8 weeks before a hard, ground-freezing frost is expected. The bulbs need time to establish themselves. Planting too early leads to disease problems. See local frost dates.
    • A good rule of thumb is to plant bulbs when the average nighttime temperatures in your area are in the 40- to 50-degree range.
    • In colder northern climates, plant in September or October. In warmer climates, plant bulbs in December (or even later).
    • To find the best dates, consult our fall bulb planting chart.
  • Nature never intended for bulbs to loll about above ground, so don’t delay planting the bulbs after purchase.
  • In southern climates with mild winters, plant bulbs in late November or December. The bulbs will need to be chilled in the refrigerator for about 12 weeks before planting. (Bulb suppliers often offer pre-chilled bulbs for sale, too.)
  • If you miss planting your bulbs at the optimal time, don’t wait for spring or next fall. Bulbs aren’t like seeds. Even if you find an unplanted sack of tulips or daffodils in January or February, plant them and take your chances. See more about planting tulips in winter

How to Plant Tulips

  • Plant bulbs fairly deep—6 to 8 inches deep, or about three times the height of the bulb. Dig a hole deeper than that in order to loosen the soil and allow for drainage. In clay soils, plant 3 to 6 inches deep instead.
  • Space bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart.
  • Set the bulb in the hole with the pointy end up. Cover with soil and press soil firmly.
  • Water bulbs right after planting. Although they can’t bear wet feet, bulbs need water to trigger growth.
  • If you’re planning to raise perennial tulips, feed them a balanced fertilizer when you plant them in the fall. Bulbs are their own complete storage system and contain all of the nutrients they need for one year. Use organic material, compost, or a balanced time-release bulb food.
  • To deter mice and moles—if they have been a problem—put holly or any other thorny leaves in the planting holes. Some gardeners use kitty litter or crushed gravel. If ravenous voles and rodents are a real problem, you may need to take stronger measures, such as planting bulbs in buried wire cages.
  • Don’t lose hope if you’re planting your tulips later in the season—just follow these tips.

How to Grow Tulips

  • If it rains weekly, do not water. However, if there is a dry spell and it does not rain, you should water the bulbs weekly until the ground freezes. 
  • Rainy summers, irrigation systems, and wet soil are death to tulips. Never deliberately water a bulb bed unless in a drought. Wet soil leads to fungus and disease and can rot bulbs. Add shredded pine bark, sand, or any other rough material to the soil to foster swift drainage.
  • Apply compost annually to provide nutrients needed for future blooms.
  • In the spring, when leaves emerge, feed your tulip the same bulb food or bone meal which you used at planting time. Water well.
  • Deadhead tulips as soon as they go by, but do not remove the leaves!
  • Allow the leaves to remain on the plants for about 6 weeks after flowering. The tulips need their foliage to gather energy for next year’s blooms! After the foliage turns yellow and dies back, it can be pruned off.
  • Large varieties may need replanting every few years; small types usually multiply and spread on their own.

When to Dig Tulips

When to dig up tulips is just as important as how to dig them up. Digging tulips prematurely can kill them. If you want to dig up tulip bulbs, don’t be in a hurry. Even though the plants lose visual appeal once the flowers start to fade, do not get out the shovel yet. Tulips flower in spring and, by early summer, their bright blooms are wilting. You can go ahead and deadhead the unsightly blooms, but wait until the foliage yellows to dig up bulbs. A tulip bulb contains not only the tiny plant but also all the nutrition that the plant needs to make it through the winter and bloom the following spring. Once tulips finish flowering, they use their leaves and roots to gather nutrients and fill up the storage containers with supplies.


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