Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pretty pictures: Tulipa cvv. flowers

So I was all excited when I got up last Friday, because the next round of watering didn't start until Sunday (today), and I didn't have to buy anything, there were no repotting emergencies or pest emergencies to deal with, I had a ton of pictures already uploaded which could be used for blog fodder, the weather was forecast to be rain so I wouldn't have to walk Sheba -- in short, there was absolutely nothing standing between me and two days spent cranking out post after post after post for the blog.

But then the camera, or its memory card, or the card reader, stopped working, so I spent half of Friday and a good chunk of yesterday preoccupied with either trying to fix that or replace the camera. Which is of course very frustrating.1

None of this has anything to do with the tulip pictures I promised in the title; it's just annoying and I wanted to complain about it to someone, and the husband has already heard the complaining so I couldn't complain to him about it again, and you didn't click or scroll away soon enough, so now you're stuck knowing about it.

But there are indeed tulips, including what I believe is the awesomest tulip I've ever seen in my life. So.

Keep in mind that all of these will open much larger in a new window, if you want to see detail:

I feel kind of weird, skulking around taking pictures of people's tulips like this. I hope it's at least obvious that that's all I'm doing. I'm sure I've been watched through a window more than once, by this point. But some of the pictures I get are worth it.

This one isn't that great of a flower, and there's a weird spot of something orangish on it that I didn't notice when I was taking the photo and can't identify, but I thought it was worth including anyway because the color and shape looked (to me) very much like a heart. Actually, now that I look, it's sort of right in between a cartoon Valentines heart and an actual, gross, meat-based heart. Hmmm.

Not the most elaborate bloom, but the picture turned out really nicely. I enjoy the color.

This one too, as far as it goes.

This looks more similar to the first photo than it actually was; the color on the first picture was a lot more pink and light yellow, and this one is a lot more red and yellow.

And then, the neatest tulip I think I've ever seen:

I can't really explain the appeal, I'm afraid, so if you don't get it, sorry to have disappointed you. It's just a color combination I've never seen before, and I like it. A lot.

The photos only sort of do it justice: the flowers are in dappled shade at the time of day when this was taken, which means the light levels are weird. But still, that's not a bad photo.

And, just because you were so nice, and read the camera-related whining, here's a bonus Iris, which I also deeply covet:

This may well be the first Iris I've liked enough to covet: Evil Grandma was big into Iris, and actually did some crosses of her own and stuff. She won a local Iris show one year, even. I've never hated them, exactly, but the association with her was sort of off-putting: this is the first one that made me stop and say wow in a very long time.

As with the special Tulip, the color combination is a lot of the appeal. I would never have thought to put those particular colors together in anything, much less expected that they would look cool. And yet.

UPDATED last night rather than rewrite the whole post:

I wound up buying a new camera at Target yesterday afternoon; it's an Olympus FE-4020, and charging up the battery took so much time that I have not yet tried taking any pictures with it, so I don't know whether I'm happy with it or not.

Buying electronics is a pain. I didn't like the process, and I didn't feel better when it was done. Normally if I spend that much money, I'm happier when it's done. And also usually I have a bunch of new plants.

Either the new camera will be so much better than the old one that the pictures will get noticeably better now, or having to start over on the learning curve for a new camera means much worse pictures for a little while. It will probably be one or the other. We'll know which in a week or two.


1 As I write this, it's early Saturday morning, and I don't know whether I'll be able to find a new camera I can afford in town or not. But just for the record, I'm not unhappy with the one I was using, exactly. It was an Olympus FE-170, which I got at Sears for $30 because it was an old floor display model. So it was already at least a year old when I bought it, it cost practically nothing, I had it for 2 1/2 years, got it wet frequently, and it still took almost 25,000 pictures in that time.
It's never worked exactly like it was supposed to: I've pretty much never been able to use the zoom (it'd let me zoom in with the viewfinder, but for more than a year now, if I press the button to take a picture with the zoom on, the camera will shut itself off instead), turning off the flash has become more and more of a hassle with time as the button responsible for doing this has gotten less and less sensitive (to the point where now I have to mash on it as hard as possible ten to fifteen times before one of them will take), and the lens turret stopped automatically retracting properly when I shut the camera off, so now the camera will only shut off when I press the turret in gently at the right moment (otherwise it'll sit there extending and retracting for a minute or so). But considering the price, it seems silly to complain about these things.


Don said...

That "neatest tulip" is clearly a viridiflora tulip of some sort, and the cultivar may be 'Green River'.

If you want to plant bulbs, you get the widest choice and the best prices by ordering from one of the wholesale companies that have small minimum orders: Van Engelen or Van Bourgondien. Brent and Becky's Bulbs is a retail source with an excellent range of choices, too, and decent prices. All have good customer service. Your local garden center will have much higher prices and a much more restricted set of choices.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Those are really lovely tulip photos. Your favourite is pretty awesome; it reminds me of hibiscus for some reason. Very nice.

Anonymous said...

Whine away, we all have days like that and can sympathize. Our reward is the walk through the tulips, and they are lovely. Now, as a gardener, I know that if someone admires one of my flowers I will knock myself out giving out names (and heritage and blah blah blah) so unless Iowa is a whole lot different from Maine I think you would be able to step up to the door and ask the gardener - after all, all they can do is slam the door in your face. (And don't let Sheba poop on their lawns!) Sometines I just absolutely have to know.

Kenneth Moore said...

That Iris looks almost like what I should have blooming at Mr. Yogato right now, if people didn't use my bulb garden to store their haunches. I bought a few "Hello Darkness" Irises last fall, but people keep breaking off the entire set of leaves down to the rhizome. I'll have to move them next year, if they survive. But they do seem as if they'd be extremely beautiful in bloom!

mr_subjunctive said...


See, this is what I like about blogging. People are always talking about how much they learn from reading various blogs, but nobody talks about how much you can learn from writing them. Especially when you have knowledgeable commenters. So now I have a name for the kind of tulip I've discovered I like.

I looked at the sites you mentioned long enough to see a couple tulip varieties I really liked -- Brent and Becky's 'China Town,' (also at Van Engelen's) and Van Bourgondien's 'Blueberry Ripple' -- at which point it hit me how very, very dangerous this was, financially, and I forced myself to close the tabs. I'd be more willing to plant tulips, I think, if 1) I were more confident about having them come back in following years, and 2) if my first attempt with tulips (2008) had gone at all well (instead, nothing came up, not even leaves).


I'd be more likely to ask the person with the Iris, because of the aforementioned skittishness when it comes to tulips. Though I'd at least openly admire the tulips, if I saw the person responsible, because they're pretty neat, and people who grow cool stuff should be encouraged.

Ginny Burton said...

I'm pretty sure I have that Iris. I'll know in a few weeks when all the irises open. I don't know its name, but the blue beard on the purple fall is really beautiful. If I do have it, I'll be glad to send you a couple of rhizomes.

Don said...

I apologize for subjecting you to temptation, Mr. Subjunctive.

In any case, before planting bulbs, you'd need to improve your heavy soil and build raised beds---and I suspect that isn't something you have time for at present. And few tulips are good perennial garden investments, even in the best possible soils.

Don said...

That's a dwarf bearded iris of some sort. Tall bearded iris like 'Hello Darkness' won't be in bloom for another five weeks or so. Mr. Subjunctive, was it under a foot tall? I'll bet it wouldn't be too hard to identify the cultivar, if the interest is there.

Jean Campbell said...

Beautiful, all of them.

I made pictures of the neighbor's tulips but waited until she wasn't home.

mr_subjunctive said...


Well, it wasn't a full-2 1/2 to 3 feet tall, no, but I think it was taller than a foot. Wasn't really paying attention to that so much when I saw it.

Ginny Burton:

That sounds lovely. Watch PATSP for selling/trading news in the next few days: I'm having a terrible time writing it up (been trying for more than a month now), but I will get a post up about this soon.

Karen715 said...

I'd disagree with Don about the need to build raised beds. (Raised beds are a good thing, and I recommend them, but they aren't absolutely necessary for a nice bulb display.) I have tulips planted directly in the clay soil of my garden, and I'm in the second year with some that I've planted, and the third year with others, and they are doing fine. There are also early tulips on the property which were planted either by my husband or stepdaughter before I moved here 7 years ago, and they still pop up each spring. Usually descriptions of tulip hybrids in catalogs will indicate whether they return reliably or not.

Don said...

Karen715: I was recommending raised beds, not specifically for the growing of tulips, but because Mr Subjunctive has written before about the poor quality of the soil. And he's been considering starting a garden, at some point, in which to grow a variety of plants. Once you start putting plants in the ground, you're committing yourself to soil non-improvement, because improving the soil where plants are growing requires vastly more time and trouble than improving the soil in the first place. So though he might be able to get away with sticking some tulip bulbs in the ground and having them bloom for a season or two, that would stand in the way of the long-term possibilities.

About perennializing tulips, as with many other considerations, like hardiness, catalog descriptions are all too frequently unreasonably optimistic. Which leads all too many beginning gardeners to disappointment and discouragement.