Tulip Planting Now for Spring 2013

The image above is from my upcoming book Flowers (coming out on Election Day …. go figure). The photo is of the formal garden that runs along the veranda and the breakfast room at the back of Weatherstone. Because our winters in the “icebox of Connecticut ” are so long and harsh, I relish the forward – looking planting of spring bulbs. Tulips are one of my favorites, as I write in Flowers, because of their fascinating history and statuesque beauty.  Of course some, such as the peony form Angelique, are soft and romantic, but I think of tulips as big, graphic, and  BOLD.  And there is such a huge variety in the species with which to work.  These happy flowers  reign in my garden and grace my house throughout the spring.

As always in gardening, the effort that precedes the burst of beauty and color (months away) is monumental. Each year I change color schemes and varieties of bulbs because I love the possibilities of creation — much like crafting a painting. The spectrum of colors and blossoms are the tools I use for my canvas. The palette is established in  fall and the success (or lack thereof) appears the following spring.

So here I am, with the help of a few of the pups, laying out the tulip grids for spring 2013. Today ( two days later ) I am covering the freshly planted beds with plastic to spare them the brunt of the rains that will hit tomorrow with Hurricane Sandy. We do not know what this week will bring weather-wise, but I do know that all backs are aching at Weatherstone!   I don’t want torrential rains to undo all of our hard work.

Here is my annual routine: I peruse the fall bulb catalogs, place my orders, develop a general plan, tweak it as I start planting, and hope for the best.  There may be some duds, but the miracle of spring rarely disappoints.

This last picture, also from Flowers, is of a bouquet of two of my favorites: lilacs and tulips. I do a version of this purple theme every spring.   I so love this moment in the garden, as well as the alchemy of fresh blossoms in this wonderful old bowl.  It was a gift from one of my favorite people, the late, great, Bill Blass.

13 thoughts on “Tulip Planting Now for Spring 2013

  1. Beautiful! As usual. I do soooo love bouquets of lilacs and tulips; it’s one of my favorite combinations, too. Also got a good laugh at “…wonderful old bowel…” That’s a classic. 😉

  2. I don’t have the space to do anything so wonderful as you, but I always think in terms of next year’s bouquets — one of the reasons we garden!! Only planting a few bulbs this fall until I assess drought damage next year. I don’t want to create bulb combinations with plants and shrubs that may not return.

  3. Dear Carolyne,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful gardens! I just planted my first several hundred bulbs this year. A mix of tulips – white,purples and pinks in beds and large daffodils wandering alongside the driveway.Fingers crossed till next spring. I live in the Hudson Valley and have a late season as well.
    Do you dig your bulbs up each year and replace them the following year with a new color palette? That’s what it sounds like. If so, do you replant the bulbs in another area?
    Much success with your latest book!

  4. Amazing the difference a day makes. Today we’re being plummeted with rain and our trees are about to break in two from the wind. And I know you all have it worse than we do!

  5. I walked along that incredible garden. So beautiful. As I sit here listening to Hurricane Sandy outside my window I am delighted to see this post. To think of next spring is exciting. The winter has yet to arrive and already I’m filled with trepidation. I too want to plan out my tulip border and long for buds. If only it weren’t months away. Lovely post Carolyne. As always.
    I have blogged about you many times, Search my blog for past posts when you have the time.

  6. Hello Carolyne,
    Your gardens are just BEAUTIFUL! They inspirer me in the making of some of my silk floral arrangements. I have all of your books and I just pre-order your new flowers book and I can’t wait to get it. Thank you for showing us your wonderful gardens.

  7. Lordy!

    I hope you escaped disaster! I hope your trees survived!

    We lost a house to fire in 1982! I followed your rebuilding of your beloved house!

    You are a lovely and elegant example for everyone!

    Thank you for that!

  8. adorabale…!! asked me for another comment! I don’t think you want to do that! I love that you asked for my website!
    I have been a “decorator” for 42 years and never had a “listed phone number”! (referral only)!
    Now I have a “website” and it seems to be the same thing!!

    Brava to you! You are such a winner; and most of all, you are such a “giver”! My highest compliment!

    You give so, so much! And you always have!


    ps. lovely you are landing in the South! Perfect!

  9. You are such an inspiration! Unfortunately tulips don’t do well in the south. I plant a few every year in the potager for cutting, but they never look like the ones up north.

    Love the pink purple bouquet in that fabulous Bill Blass Bowl.

  10. Dear Carolyne, So happy to find your site today. I have admired your work for a very long time. I hope your property survived Sandy last night well and intact. Congratulations on your new book…. I still adore my seasonal books of yours!
    all my best,

  11. What a random delight to stumble upon your blog. After years of worshiping the reliable, sunny daffodil I bought a number of tulips and just put some to bed for the winter last night. Here is hoping they do not become so much salad for the deer that roam these dunes.

  12. How wonderful to at last find you! Love your garden-you will adore the south, originally from the south now living in Southern CA. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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