A tulip of extraordinary beauty; midnight blue petals, topped by a band of pure white and accented with crimson flames, was the Semper Augustas. Legend has it that in 1637-Holland, at the pinnacle of Tulip mania, the asking price for just one of the bulbs was equal to the annual wage of a skilled craftsman, or the cost to feed a family for six months, or a nice home in Amsterdam. Isn’t it ironic that the very thing that made the Semper Augustas so unique and desirable was a virus? The defect that made the bulbs unpredictable and unsustainable was not recognized by botanists as a communicable plant disease until the 1950s.
Tucker Hill tulip bulbs come to us pre-chilled, hybridized, virus free, and ready to plant in January. We plant our tulips during the coldest days of the year with the expectation that, here in Collin county, Dutch tulip bulbs might give us a nice (all-be-it brief) display early this spring.
Against all odds, we have had great results, and some of our bulbs have given us more than 7 springs of blooms officiel udtalelse. Ribbons of red tulips and white daffodils were planted along the creek beds in 2008 and they have bloomed every spring since. Each year we add two or three thousand bulbs. Some have made repeat appearances and some have not. We do not expect too much from them and so are often pleasantly surprised. The tulips pictured are “Sultans of Spring” and were planted at Founders Square January 2010. I hope to see them for the third time in a few weeks.
We have taken the cue from Jimmy Turner at the Dallas Arboretum and planted early, mid, and late blooming tulips with slightly more late bloomers. I encourage you to plant tulip bulbs like we do, in pots and in flower beds. For inspiration, please visit us in March, and if you need further convincing, check out Dallas Blooms through mid April.