A friend gave me a sack of tulip bulbs in October last year! Our intent was to see if tulips could be 'forced'. Traditionally, I force paper whites so trying a new bulb piqued my interest.
Five months later, you see what happened! The tulips are blooming. With many other things going on in my life the tulips were forgotten in a window behind a sack of dog food. It didn't actually require patience (that implies active choice). More than attention to patience it could be described as benign neglect.
The bulbs or the promise of plant life were watered sporadically, at best. Even so, they survived. Was it being hidden behind the dog food that did it?
When I force bulbs my favorite gravel comes from the shores of Montana's own Flathead Lake. Called rainbow gravel, you can see why. Tiny pebbles made smooth by the constant swishing of cold lake waters round off jagged edges. Paper whites love this gravel as their roots weave deeply to find water. The tulips didn't like growing in the pebbles.
Delicate pink bulbs loved being planted in potting soil. So long ago placed in this pot, I cannot remember the flower colors. Patience...
In the meantime, here is my celebration of just one tulip! You see LaVonne's fluffy wool dove kissing the tulip. This dove has been known to perch in a rosemary tree and a Christmas cactus. She gets around!
Visit my felting artist friend: http://www.localharvest.org/serenity-sheep-farm-stay-M26943
Or see more of her birdies at:
Years ago, my daughter spent a semester in Sienna, Italy. I visited her to roam the streets of Sicily and Rome. This terra cotta lady insisted on living in Montana. She especially loves some of my planting experiments, the 5-month old tulip her favorite!
Like my tulip, many years ago I fell in love with Andrea Gill's whimsical ceramics:
The artist spent time in Helena, Montana at the Archie Bray Foundation: http://www.archiebray.org/
Two of her ceramic face pots live with us, polka dots abound.
In July at the Santa Fe, New Mexico Farmers' Market, one vendor sells imaginative potholders with wonderful, funny images portraying saints. Our Lady and San Pasqual keep an eye on our own kitchen hot pots and, of course, the pink tulip.
The moral of the story? Never, never give up on a tulip bulb. Inspirational is the patience that lives within the heart of all gardeners and a tulip bulb's DNA!