Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dutch Treat

Today I am a happy camper. Despite the bum right knee. My special discovery makes even the pain of limping across my lawn bearable. Even the poopy chore of removing Bailey's toilette debris from the back yard. Out of the corner of my eye ... on the giant bed under the spruces and towering walnut tree was the most amazing surprise. VoilĂ !

Guess what is peeking up through that recently de-winterized, untangled plot? Where last weekend's four hour rake extravaganza removed dead fallen evergreen needles piled inches high, branches from the trees bordering my property and those gangly two-foot long yellowed ribbons from last summer's tiger lilies? In the blank space in front of the distinctive ruffled shoots emerging like clockwork that soon will sprout zillions of buds. Those large, showy reddish orange tiger lilies that grow like weeds in the New England sandy soil.

No. Not those. More special. To me anyway.

Tender green shoots barely 1/2 inch tall poking tentatively from the pine mulch. That's right! Variegated tulips striated with tinges of peach on fields of white the green vein reaching to the tip of their lovely fringed petals. Sole survivors of a red squirrel ravaged buffet feast.

I had failed miserably. Bulb planting 101, obviously not my forté in the sandy Maine soil where squirrels run amok. In that October a few years ago when 144 of the largest yellow jonquils and a dozen Green Wave Parrot tulips ordered direct from Holland were planted lovingly by my very own hands. Less than ten daffodils bloomed. Zero tulips. No feathery-petaled blooms which would slowly change to rosy pink, embraced with emerald-green arms. Nary a one. Utter failure.

Yes. I dug the hole with the requisite conical spade, twisted just so and gently dropped each bulb right side up seven inches below the ground. Added a bit of bone meal for nourishment and nutrition. And waited patiently for each of the past three summers for their glorious flowers. But hey. Those damn vermin. Munched on this delectable smorgasbord. Ruining my chances of having these most gorgeous fresh cut tulips accessorized my color-coordinated Brunschig et Fils decorated living room.

Treasured tulips were not to be. Not here. My garden, when I had even the tiniest plot of land, festooned with these delightful blossoms in early summer. Fresh flowers. A cutting bed of delights.

Frustration and disappointment mounted. Cognitive dissidence. Buyer's remorse. Each precious bulb a small fortune. A barren harvest. Unable to amortize the cost. Much less derive psychic income - pleasure. My very own tulipmania. Mad as a hatter. Obsessed. As frenzied as mid-17th century Dutch buying and selling tulip futures in the canal houses that lined the banks of Amsterdam. Poof. My investment gone awry.

But this year would be different. A sweet surprise when most needed to lift my sagging spirits. Vindicated. Those smarmy little buggers didn't have their way with my treasures after all.

Cheers to fresh cut tulips in my favorite Baccarat vase this summer!

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