Remember, loyal readers, how excited I was about my latest tulip design when I planted the bulbs last fall? I believe I said it would be PERFECT, so maybe I should learn something about hubris from this sad story, but gardeners are an excitable bunch and I know you all understand.
The Design: In between perennials in the front of a sunny border I planted three Single Late tulips, chosen because they bloom after most of my daffs but with the dogwoods and azaleas and because they're all the same type and presumably would bloom at the same time, a very important factor in tulip design, believe you me. So from the fine bulb supplier John Scheepers (no cheap pot-luck bulbs from Home Depot, nosiree) I ordered the purple Cum Laude, the "pink" Esther and the "pale yellow" Francoise, for a total of 50.
Anyway, here's the border and here's what popped up. We're supposed to see yellow at the bottom, then purple, and pink on top. First, do you see any purple? Neither do I. Or, for that matter, do you see any pink or yellow? Those Esthers look orangey-red to my eyes and the "pale yellow" sure looks like white. I know color's a subjective thing and I may be picking nits, but remember, this was gonna be PERFECT.
But back to the missing purple Cum Laudes, a clear case of trouble in tulipland. First a photo of Cum Laudes in their tall glory in someone else's garden, and here's a shot of what came up instead. They're really short rose-colored lily-shaped tulips, probably China Pink.
What Went Wrong? At first I thought the good folks at Scheepers had sent me the wrong bulbs, but in writing this post I realize I planted China Pinks a few years back and while they're much shorter this time around, they're back. So the mystery is: Where the hell are the tall purple Cum Laudes? Did they all fail? Did I just imagine planting them? And why am I having to deal with yet another failed tulip design when it seemed like I was doing everything right and this just isn't fair?