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.