Tulips in the Field

We planted all of the tulip bulbs in one go last fall. It’s hard work: First you dig a trench 6” deep the entire length of the bed. Then you squat inside the trench and lay the bulbs in a tight grid edge-to-edge. As the trench fills you have less and less room to navigate, boot toes bumping up against bulbs, hips and shoulders tired.

It’s satisfying work, too, the result a tidy ribbon of pale dots stretching across the field. After digging and planting, we shoveled the displaced dirt back on top. And then we waited all winter.

It’s amazing to me that although every bulb went underground on the same day (or near to it), they’re emerging and blooming in waves. It’s like each variety is on it’s own timetable, listening for it’s own cues. Some are tall with slender stems, others are short and stocky. And they come in every romantic shade: deep purples and blush pinks and creamy, pale yellows.

Clara, farm boss and friend

What makes a flower the way it is? Am I any different?

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