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The Hidden Sex Life of a Tulip

Daffodils at Deep Run
Daffodils at Deep Run

I love spring flowers but because of this year’s on-again, off-again spring weather that we have been having here in the Finger Lakes region, I have had to be very patient. Most of my hyacinths were badly damaged or stunted by the snow which we received on April third and the unmercifully cold temperature of 17 degrees on the fourth of April. The early blooming daffodil stems were broken over by the weight of the snow and their show immediately ended for this year.

A Daffodil at Deep Run
A Daffodil at Deep Run

Fortunately I planted some daffodils last fall around our tree away from the house. They had hardly begun to break their way through the frozen ground when the cold temperatures hit in early April and now they are in full bloom, unscathed by the early cold temperatures in the teens.

Tulips at Deep Run
Tulips at Deep Run

The tulips are planted much nearer to the house but the cold southwest wind which comes around the corner of the house kept them in slow motion this spring. The leaves were up and fully formed when the early April snow and cold hit, but the plants had not sent up their buds. As soon as I see any green from the tulips, I begin to spray them with Deer Off as the tulip seems to be New York’s deer’s favorite spring food.

Tulips at Deep Run
Tulips at Deep Run

According to the Farmers Almanac (click here), if you dig up a tulip bulb in midsummer, it’s not the same bulb that you planted last fall. It’s her daughter. Even while the tulip is blossoming, the bulb is busy dividing for the next generation. Well, to tell you the truth, I never mess around with digging up my tulip bulbs and I could care less about their underground sex life. But I sure do enjoy the show that they put on in the spring!

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