Flower Power Pt. 3 – The Perseverance of Tulips

Everything that slows us down and forces patience,
everything that sets
us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace.
- May Sarton

Center of Tulip Closeup - Photo by Sharani
Center of Tulip Closeup - Photo by Sharani

Shortly after I bought my first home, flush with newness and enthusiasm, I planted an abundance of flower bulbs – tulip, crocus, daffodils. I added bone meal to deter squirrels from eating the bulbs and waited for the wonder of spring color the following year. To my dismay, the only flowers that bloomed from that massive planting were the daffodils. This novice gardener asked around and learned that the squirrels don’t like daffodil bulbs but that they surely ate the tulips and crocus. I was pretty dejected and my future gardening projects mostly were annuals or perennials added as an already existing plant rather than a bulb.

For at least the next seven years, I never tried to plant additional bulbs. Last Fall, I decided to research if there might not be some little-known remedy to deter squirrels from eating flower bulbs and again nearly gave up when most of what I read on the Internet declared it a truly lost cause.

With a tenacity to somehow persevere and make it happen, I finally found a site that said if you wait and plant the flower bulbs in December just before the ground freezes that the squirrels have finished their major foraging period and are not actively seeking out food.

Tulip Ringed with Raindrops - Photo by Sharani
Tulip Ringed with Raindrops - Photo by Sharani

Mother Nature and my own gardening laziness conspired together in this regard. Decembers have been relatively mild in New England the last couple of years and I’m so busy that I do not automatically think to complete gardening chores in a timely fashion. So in mid-December, I easily dug up dirt and planted tulip and crocus bulbs.

Tulip in my Yard - Photo by Sharani
Tulip in my Yard - Photo by Sharani

Eureka! It worked. This spring I have tulips and crocus pretty much everywhere I planted them. I am giddy with tulip mania – maybe some of it rubbed off on me when I went to Turkey last year. Tulips are the national flower of Turkey and they were revered there long before they came to Holland.

Or maybe I am harkening back to growing up in Michigan with its own renowned tulip festivals in Holland, Michigan.

Regardless of the influence, I am so delighted that I did not give up in my quest to have tulips and crocus bloom in my yard. I am camera happy to take their portraits. This post is scattered with the results of said shutterbugging.

So if you are trying to keep squirrels from ravaging your flower bulbs, take my success story to heart. Plant them late, never give up and you too will find the perseverance of tulips is possible.

Quotes from Sri Chinmoy on this theme:

Inside each one of us is a beautiful flower garden.
This is the garden of the soul. With each lesson
we learn, the garden grows. As we learn together,
our individual gardens form a tranquil paradise.
– Sri Chinmoy

God’s favourite season is spring, when new hope, new life and new creation dawn. What God always wants from Himself is transcendence. This He can do only when He exercises new hope, new life and new creation constantly.
– Sri Chinmoy

This entry was posted in Flower Power, Nature, tulips by Sharani. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sharani

As a librarian and bibliophile, I especially resonate with the written word. I began studying meditation as Sri Chinmoy's student in 1985 and my spiritual strivings and creative expression are primarily a spirit of delight in the supernal beauty of God.

6 thoughts on “Flower Power Pt. 3 – The Perseverance of Tulips

  1. Some great photos of tulips and spring flowers. Squirrels can look cute, but to the gardener they can be a bit of a pest…

    I remember with fondness the time when I worked as a gardener; much more fun than working with computers :)

    • Hi Tejvan,
      I forgot that you used to work as a gardener! What a change indeed. Did I see that you recently started a blog for gardeners?

  2. Hello Sharani

    I love the last quote from Sri Chinmoy, I hadn’t read that before. Very refreshing.

    Haven’t been blogging or reading much lately, so it was a treat for me to visit today to catch up on your latest posts and photos. I don’t have a garden of my own, so I enjoyed visiting your virtual one very much!

    In Old England we seemed to skip spring this year and went straight from winter to summer. There seems to be a trend here this year towards a type of tulip which is absolutely enormous, like an old-fashioned wine goblet. They are out now in brilliant fire colours. I suppose you would know what they are. I know nothing about gardening but love to appreciate the work of gardeners.

    With love
    Sumangali

    • Hi Sumangali,
      I’m not certain about the tulips you mention that are popular in England currently. I’ll have to explore and see what I discover. I planted somewhat cautiously in December so next year I will branch out (puns a minute) and explore some new colours and varieties.

  3. At a place where I once worked, a co-worker and avid gardener referred to squirrels as rats with pretty tails. She noticed my surprise – I had always thought squirrels to be rather cute – and remarked, “Well, they eat the bulbs in my garden!”

    Having just seen your lovely garden, I can attest to the fact that you were successful in growing tulips this year.

    • Hi Niriha,
      I’m delighted you stopped by with a comment! I must confess I have also heard other gardeners refer to squirrels in this manner. I didn’t have the heart to feel antagonistic towards them but am rather thrilled to have outsmarted their own foraging instincts. Next to come – a hummingbird feeder!