Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Broken Tulip

...Spring bulbs, No snow, and making a break for it.

The Broken Tulip

Front Spiral Garden in late April after a couple weeks of unusually warm weather

Many of you garden geeks out there will have read Tulipmania so what I am about to explain is like so 'old news' to you but let me bore you to enlighten others. A long time ago, in the era of Rembrant (1700th century), the artsy and otherwise susceptible communities in Europe were seized with Tulip fever. Bulbs began selling for incredible debt-defying prices. Some of the most prized bulbs sprouted striped flowers. The striping pattern was unpredictable and many, many years later it was discovered that this novel pattern was created by a mosaic virus specifically the Tulip Breaking Virus (TBV - actually according to one source five viruses can cause it).

Species Tulip opened yesterday!

I had filed this, wrongly, under my mind's history files figuring that they only sell clean tulip stock now. I was right that so called 'Rembrandt' tulips on the market nowadays are not affected by the virus(es).

Tulips planted by previous owners many years ago replanted and then covered with gravel which they dutifully grew threw. When I originally dug up this clump of tulips, I swear there were a hundred bulbs in a square foot so who knows how long they had been there. A couple years of replanting the tiny bulbs, they were flowering size, I guess. I think these are the classic red Darwin tulips but I'm not sure.

However, stock still exists of true 'broken tulips'. Old House Gardens Heirloom Flower Bulbs is willing to infest your spring planting design with these ailing beauties. However, they do suggest you plant them away from unbroken tulips and other members of the lily family for obvious reasons. However, maybe you are curious about what would happen if you committed biological warfare on your unsuspecting tulip stock. I'm not suggesting you do... just saying.

A squirrel planted this one. I wonder from which neighbour it came? Random yellow and red tulip near the varigated foliage of red robin greigi tulip.

Squirrel planted tulip. I wonder which neighbour it came from. It's sitting besides ome Greigi tulips with their varigated foliage.

Links to more on broken tulips:

Standard but entertaining article about broken tulips
Intereting article about the connection of broken tulips and 'stone fruit trees'
English broken tulips
An article expanding on the history of the borken tulip
There is a lot written on the economics of the tulip crash, here is but one example

Other Signs of Spring

No snow!

Youngest sniffing the Narcissus.

Spring in fast forward - we went from crocus to daffs to tulips in what seemed like time lapse photography after several weeks of unusually warm weather.

Giant Crocus planted with violas.


Grecian wind flowers. I love these little blooms.

Making a break for it:

I'll be signing off for awhile as we are heading on some really long trips. In the meantime, I wet my plants, has offered to come around occasionally and pull a lamb's ear about to set seed from my garden, so please feel free to read her adventures in Ottawa. I'll also have a friend from around the block who wants to play in my veggie patch so perhaps he'll make some updates. We'll see.

See you in August!

One more gratuitous flower shot

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Local Bloggers

It's not just me.

I thought it would be nice to explore a modern buzz word - local - by finding out who else blogs in the Ottawa Valley about gardens. But here's the thing, there used to be more of us! Now all I can find are the following two and I could pick both of them out in a crowd:

I Wet My Plants - you've heard of this intrepid blogger before. I suspect she's deep in spring seed fever like me right now. We met through plantcycle (much mentioned plant exchange site).

Common Ground - a CSA plot blog/adventure. Talk about a small world - Our kids used to play together.

Anyhow, check them out, leave some comments if you like, read a bit about gardening in Ottawa.

Snow 2008 - the remains

So we are getting closer to NS day (no snow day).

Here is what my yard looks like:

View of the veggie garden with receding glacier.

The front spiral garden popping out of the snow.

With so much snow, plants were actually growing under there. Crocus were in full bud, and there was enough insulation to keep this chinese cabbage overwintered:

2nd year chinese cabbage still alive under snow.

Parsley reliably overwinters here and will self-seed if you let it:

Luminescent in the morning sunshine: a crown of parsley

Thriving in the polytunnel thingy is self-seeded corn salad / mache:

Yum! Mache / corn salad

And finally tulips growing through gravel mulch to join the mass of bulbs full of promise if the local rodentia - bunnies and squirrels - don't behead them all.

Tulips will not be deterred by gravel mulch!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wanna see what I look like?


An unnamed blogger when categorizing blog types talked about how some bloggers are anon when it comes to anything but their garden and that is more or less me but for fun I thought I would send you over to my other blog to see what I did with my hair. Go on, you know you're curious.

And now back to your regular garden updates.

Melting Snow

It's melting slooooooooooowly.

Check it out, near the house where it is warm, I found tulip shoots!!