A Day in the Tulips

MKPhoto_TulipFestival-21[1]
No matter what the calendar says, you know Spring has sprung once the delicate tulips start opening up from their Winter slumbers.  Each one taking its sweet time to mature into its full floret, and I have no problem waiting for the show.

I order my tulip bulbs in early April at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and am pleased every year.  You can also order from there at www.tulips.com.  They have such a vast variety that it is sure to meet any sort of gardeners fancy.  I have had the pleasure of traveling with my dear friend, and illustrious photographer, Megan Krueger Smith each year to select my prized bulbs.  Our mornings start early as we make the beautiful drive towards Mount Vernon, Wa.  We make a quick pit stop at the Skagit Valley Farm House Restaurant where we’re guaranteed to have a hearty, comfort-food filled breakfast.  After we indulge ourselves we head over to Rozengarrde Gardens where we are greeted with folding fields of tulips.  Each year some how surpasses the beauty from the previous years gardens.  Here are a few pictures from the trip.

Rozengarrde Gardens:
MKPhoto_TulipFestival-25[1]

MKPhoto_TulipFestival-5[1]

MKPhoto_TulipFestival-15[1]

MKPhoto_TulipFestival-23[1]

MKPhoto_TulipFestival-24[1]

MKPhoto_TulipFestival-27[1]

MKPhoto_TulipFestival-29[1]

MKPhoto_TulipFestival-1[1]Photo Credit: Megan Krueger Smith
http://mkruegerphotography.com

Tulip Care
It’s important when growing tulips to give them a full growing season.  Of course there will be many cut for beautiful bouquets to dress your home in, but the season goes past the bloom itself.  It’s important to water and feed the remaining green blades left with the remaining stock.  Doing this will help encourage larger blooms for the following year.  Trim back the leaves and stock once they start to turn.  Strategically place bright and beautiful Spring perennials and annuals around the tulips to distract from the unlovely turning tulip blades.

Now some tulips are so beautiful that it becomes too difficult for me to cut.  I also appreciate the bright flower beds greeting me each time I come home.  Keep in mind that if this is you too, you will need to deadhead the tulips.  Once the petals have fallen, simply snap the stigma off.

Tulip StigmaTulip Stigma
Planting Season
Tulips should be planted in late Fall before the first frost.  However, life gets busy and sometimes you miss this sowing season.  Have no fear, you can also plant in late Winter or early Spring.
Here are some of the tulips we’re admiring around the Cottage this Spring.
Enjoy!
Canopy Tulip Bed
Blushing Beauty
Purple Tulip
Blushing Beauty Yawn
Salmon Parrot Tulip
Valerie Fringe Tulip
Tulips at Work

Blueberry Bliss

There’s nothing like plucking fresh blueberries for your morning cereal, a light snack, or last minute dessert toppings.  Having a blueberry bush can cater to many different culinary experiences, which makes the annual maintenance well worth the job. 

 

Maintenance

Once you see the start of leaf growth and blossoms on the shrub it is time to start pruning.  I like to wait until the end of March to start pruning.  This allows for plenty of time for the leaf growth, and helps you avoid pruning potential producing branches.  Look through the bountiful branches to seek out dead wood, and trim just above the knot of the producing branch it may be attached to.  Completing this task will produce a larger harvest the following year.  You can also shape your shrub if you so desire, which means you will have to cut some potential producers.  However, this will not harm the bush. 

   

      

If you’re looking to increase your chances of a larger harvest then it is a good idea to throw a plastic net over the shrub.  This will help minimize the chances of your blueberries becoming a fly-by snack for traveling birds.  Also, proving to be quite tricky for meandering raccoons to grab a late night meal from. 

 

Once blueberries have come to a partial to full blue color, they are ready for picking. 

 

 

Enjoy!