I would like to talk to you about tulips.
In my hometown when I was young (the 1940’s and 50’s) there was a family of adult brothers and sisters named Freed who lived in a large, two-story, white, clapboard, late 19th-century Victorian home that was built after the Civil War by Julius Freed, a dry goods storeowner. The family store was still in business and run by the Freed family. The Freed House is located not far east of the Court Square in our tiny town.
I have not seen it for many years, but as I remember it - as seen through a child’s eyes, the house is sited far back from the street on a huge lot. Then one spring a huge planting of hundreds of tulips bloomed in their side yard, a vacant lot beside their house. For several years, the people of our county drove back and forth daily as long as the tulips bloomed just to look at them. People would ask one another, "Have you seen the Freed's tulips?" Of all the generous things they did for the community that was the one that touched me the most. And, I have never forgotten. I decided I would like to do something for our neighborhood similar to what the Freeds had done, only on a smaller scale.
Tulipa is the genus of this Eurasian perennial bulbous plant in the family Liliaceae. In that genus are thousands of species and cultivated varieties. Specie tulips are native to Turkey and other countries of southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia from Anatolia and Iran in the east to northeast of China. The center of diversity of the genus is in the Pamir and Hindu Kush mountains and the steppes of Kazakhstan.
Originating in those mountainous areas of temperate climates, tulips need a period of cool dormancy – twelve to sixteen weeks in the dark with soil temperature below 50 degrees F. They do best in climates with long cool springs and early summers. Farther south in warmer zones, they have to be treated as annuals, and removed once their spring show is over. So far, baring too radical a climate change, we are able to grow tulips here in Crocker Croft. But, tulips need room to grow roots, and therein lies the problem for me.
Next post will be about the rigors of planting bulbs at Crocker Croft. I hope reading my account of the events will help someone else.
= To Be Continued =