Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yes Honey, Size Does Matter

Well spring is almost over I suppose. I have begun the sad process of cutting back spent blooms and clearing away soggy tulip petals. There are still some late bloomers yet to bloom and that will ease my pain until the poppies come online and make me forget I ever had tulips. Of course while I know this intellectually and because the photo file from the past two years confirms this, I will still cry like a little girl when the tulips fade away.

When I actually was a little girl and not just crying like one, I had never seen a tulip in real life. I didn’t exactly grow up around gardeners. As a matter of fact for most of my childhood I grew up in the desert South West and was raised by wolves, who apparently don’t garden as a species. The only tulips I had ever seen until I was thirty one years old had been in coloring books. You know, the ones with outline pictures of cute little houses with a row of flowers on the front lawn, most often daisies or tulips. Simple shapes for simple minds. Somehow I always took offense to that but I got too distracted by the row of pretty colors in the Crayola box to put up much of a fuss. To my eye those flowers always looked pretty tiny and as I mentioned, the wolf den wasn’t much on flowers so there was a distinct paucity of comparables.

Then we moved here to the Great Northwest and went to see the tulip festival. I was absolutely stunned. First of all, there is the breathtaking sweep of pure color, like God left his own box of Crayola crayons out in the sun to melt across the valley floor but, then it was the sheer size of the things that blew me away. I had no idea they were so huge. I always thought tulips were these tiny little things, probably and unwittingly I thought, about as large in real life as they appeared in my little coloring books. When I was confronted with the real life flower I was shocked. Most of them were large enough to hold a grande sized latte’ from Starbucks…with whip. Not only that some of them actually smelled and nicely too, not like the dust scent I was accustomed to smelling on decorative roadside flowers, which unfortunately had really been my only flower sniffing experience. Well, that does exclude flowers given to me by the Saint but those usually smelled of guilt. Of course the The Actor often brought me flowers when he was a little boy but then we’re back to the dust smell again. I haven’t mentioned the Actor much in my blogging before but I promise to try this whole “sharing” thing everyone seems to be doing now days, a little more often. I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned him since the Troll episode. He expressed a little bitterness at that neglect over dinner one night but I took it in stride. As his mother, it is my solemn duty to disappoint him. Why, without me he would be sailing through life without guilt, disappointment or bitterness. Now I ask you, what kind of life is that?

When it comes to parenting, I am certainly no slacker, just ask the kid. It’s been nothing but a bitter life of disappointment and yet still he turned out perfect. I’m not exactly sure where I went wrong but those non gardening wolves sure knew what they were doing. And thank goodness for their evil black hearts, otherwise I would have completely missed the sheer joy and surprise of seeing a real live tulip for the first time in my life at the tender age of thirty one.
Standing there in a muddy field with a giant oversized latte’ in one hand exclaiming at the top of my lungs just to make sure the people at the next farm over could hear me, “my god, it’s so freaking huge!” A swath of touristy eyes suddenly turned in our direction. The Saint was wearing a canary eating grin and strutting like a peacock for some stupid reason so I said “Well it is! I didn’t know it was so big.” At that point he started smiling so hard that I thought the fool was having a stroke or something. Three women came running up to see what all the fuss was about but they looked disappointed for some reason. “Oh, that’s nothing. They all grow like that, honey” one of them said and then the Saint look disappointed for some reason. Now I’m not entirely sure of what I learned that day other than disappointment comes in all sizes but, so does joy, both are just as fleeting and usually come as a complete surprise. After the bitter disappointment of winter, spring is a joyful surprise and often much bigger than expected.

May each of you enjoy the joyful surprise of Spring.


  1. I love your stories. As a rule, I try not to become enthralled by plants that don't grow well in my area. Tulips are one of those. I planted 40 one year. 15 bloomed. 2 came up the next year and promptly died before budding. This year, two came up and bloomed. I bet I never see them again.

  2. LOL! What a bubble burst-er.
    LeSan your tulips are just spectacluar. All of that hard woek on all of those bulbs sure paid out in beauty.

  3. I like the photo with the tulips reflecting into the water. Just beautiful.

    Always a pleasure to read your blog. Good eye candy and things for me to chew on.

  4. Tulips are just lovely and yours are beautiful. I remember seeing quite a few when I visited Washington DC when I was 12.

  5. Beautiful photos, and an interesting usual.

  6. All that digging with a spoon was worth it. I can't believe how many you have, and how big they are! :)

  7. TOM~ I’m very flattered that you enjoy my blog stories! I am also surprised that tulips don’t do well for you. We have such similar weather most of the time. Of course that isn’t always a shoe in is it? There are things like azaleas that I should be able to grow here, yet I have managed to kill every single one I’ve planted so far.

    HOCKING HILLS~ Thank you and sorry about the bubble busting. LOL I can’t imagine spring without the tulips. I think it is well worth the effort, they are so pretty. Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve got to have the tulips, I’m addicted. hehe

    ROSEY~ Hi Rosey, nice to see you around. I also love the reflections in the pond. It’s one of my favorite type of shots to get. One day the fish will be big enough to make a decent showing in those photos but for now their just little slips of color. Grow little fishies, grow!~

    NOELLE~ Thank you! I have never been to DC but I understand they put on some pretty nice spring bulb displays. I wish tulips could grow in the desert. I think that would be such a spectacular display in that setting.

    PATCHWORK~ Haha interesting post. Yeah, it sort of got away from me.
    Glad you liked the photos.

    CATHERINE~ Thanks Catherine. I know I get kind of carried away with the tulip thing. I probably won’t be truly happy until I have a solid field of tulips like they do in the Skagit Valley. Perhaps if I just keep planting one day it will all be filled in, one solid mass of tulips. Bwaaahhaaa

  8. Tulips at 31. I think it's adorable that you got to experience it then. I came from the tropics and didn't see a tulip until my first spring here in the US as a 16 year old. I kvetch about why we have to winter here in Utah, but truth is, I'd be very sad to not have spring tulips.

    Have a beautiful spring day, LeSan!!

    PS I usually don't care for music on blogs, but I positively love yours. Makes me happy. And it's as if I am in your garden.

  9. I can't imagine going to age 31 without seeing a tulip -- and I think your reaction is entirely understandable, frankly. Loved the story with The Saint and the curious women tourists. Very humorous writing. ;)

    That photo of the tulips reflected in the water is absolutely beautiful!

  10. I enjoyed all your marvelous, gorgeous tulips in every tulip post of yours. Honey, I have yet to see a real one!

  11. Thunk of you when I eventually got about 100 Watsonia bulbs in the ground. Because they were already sprouting. Now sitting on my little chair and waiting for the Flowers.

  12. IT is great to see that your efforts paid off LeSan! How wonderful your tulips look! What a funny tale you weave... thank you for the laughs! I love your tulips and especially the ones reflecting in the water and the single one with the blue in the background. Stunning photos. Hilarious narrative. ;>)