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The not-so-perennial garden

  • Blog Post by: Nicole Hvidsten
  • May 23, 2014 - 7:50 AM

Suffice it to say there was no tip-toeing through the tulips this spring. And bloom where you're planted?

This was not happening at my house.

This was not happening at my house.

Not at my house. At least not this spring.

For the first time since I happily stuck bulbs in the ground more than a dozen years ago, my tulips didn't bloom. Nestled next to the house on the south side, they've always been protected and they've always been early risers. Like many other perennials, this year they were a little slow to wake up. (Weren't we all?) But sure enough, they reliably poked through to herald the arrival of spring. They kept growing, but not one of my eight plants were up to the task of producing blooms. Did they finally give up?

I've never really doted on my tulips, figuring they were the one low-maintenance part of my life. (Full disclosure: Life with three busy kids prevents me from doting on a lot of things.) As I started to research possible causes for the lack of blooms, I was surprised to hear them called finicky. I've never had a problem, but suddenly felt lucky that they've stuck with me all these years. Those tulips were the first thing I planted when we moved in, so I need to step up my game. I figure I have a few choices:

1. Let them be. Was it a fluke? Maybe they'll bloom again next year. But should I do something different this fall?

2. Dig them up and replant. Perhaps they need a breath of fresh air and the benefit of reworked soil. And speaking of soil, should I treat my soil differently?

3. Give up. Have those tulips run their courses? One garden enthusiast wrote that she plants bulbs by the handful and feels lucky when something comes up. Not sure I want to go to that extreme, but is it time to bring in some new blood?

Help me out, gardeners. I need some advice. Because my clematis is a little slow on the take, too.

Plant swap: Don't forget our annual Green Girls free plant swap is coming up May 31 from 10 to noon in the park area across the street from the Star Tribune building at 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis.

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