Birthday present: BULBS!

Ha! Celebrated my birthday this year a bit belatedly to be able to share with my dear friend Eta and also so lovely daughter Antonia could join us once her grad school classes were complete for the semester. That’s our beautiful Princess Cake above. Yum.

What I had not anticipated was that my dearest friend Cornelia would bless me with 106 bulbs as a birthday present! Fabulous, glorious and intimidating!

She gave me 36 lilies (a mix of Casablanca, Rio Negro, and Dizzy–what I’m going to be after planting so many bulbs!) and 70 gladiolus (Espresso and Fiorentina). The bags say Sun/Soleil on the front, so the folks in France are going to be joining me in finding sunny spots for our new beauty endeavors! Now. In spite of having lived in Holland for three full years do I know zip about bulbs? Not really. So this is not only a gift of bulbs; it’s an opportunity for me to finally get over the mystery in my head about bulbs in general and learn to Do This Right!

So off I go to John, the nurseryman, to ask for his kind guidance in bulb schooling…

[Here you imagine my getting into my truck and going off to the nursery. BUT!]

A funny thing happened on the way to the nursery. There’s a woman who has been remodeling a house in the neighborhood who happens to have a lot of gorgeous new tulips out front. And she was there in the front yard as I drove past. Screeching halt. Pull into her driveway. Hi! I’m your neighbor!

As it happens this woman is a very experienced garden with professional credentials. No need to go all the way to the nursery. At all.

“I’m noticing all your lovely tulips out front. My friend gave me bulbs for my birthday.”

“Too late.”

“For tulips?”


“They aren’t tulips. They are glads. And lilies.”

“Oh! Well, perfect timing.”



And this is why I believe her.

delicious orange tulips!

lovely creamy yellow tulip

OMG, BIG red tulips

“Uh, what kind of tulips are these?”


“Normal? I’ve never seen tulips that big.”

“They’re normal. They’re just open.”

“Open? Those are BIG tulips!”

“Huh. Maybe they are empires.”


So talking to my new friend Lois, I guess all I really have to do is plant these bulbs soon, in the sun, about 6-8″ deep in the ground. And here’s the best part! Because I live in California, I don’t have to do anything much else except enjoy them! Because apparently all that early programming I absorbed about bulbs being mysterious only applies to other regions. Not here. Isn’t that fantastic?? I can’t wait.

Love and gardening blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Oh! Book News!: Ode Magazine is publishing one of the stories from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy in their June issue! It’s the story of when Antonia and I created a garden in front of our flat in Amsterdam, thereby transforming our connection with the whole neighborhood! Happy about that! ๐Ÿ™‚

8 Responses to “Birthday present: BULBS!”

  1. Yay, mom! Good for you for exploring bulbs, and finding a new friend in the process. Wow! Her tulips are Beautiful, and inspiring! Best wishes on your bulb journey ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love you,

  2. Hi, Antonia! Thanks! Can you imagine? Over 100 new flowers to enjoy?
    Wow! Glad you will bear witness! Love, Mom xoxo

  3. Funny story, Kathryn. Happy birthday and happy bulb-planting!

  4. Bulbs are not that hard if you find the right place for them and the squirrels don’t eat them/replant them for you. We have both challenges here. The early spring minor bulbs even spread/self sow into the grass around them. I’m slowly getting a whole front yard of minor spring bulbs and white violets. My goal is to be basically grass free in front under the big maple. We can do lilies here & leave them in the ground but glads have to be dug each fall, or sacrificed because they will not make it through the winters..had snow on the 30th, about an inch! It’s 37 degrees at the moment so the spring bulbs are lasting well instead of burning up in unseasonable heat. Happy birthday, Hugs, Julie

  5. Hi, Pam! Good morning and thank you! I will be excited to see them all come up! Kathryn xoxo

  6. Hi, Julie, Yes, well. I do have squirrels, but I also have a few random glads and a pot full of lilies that they never touch. Either it’s because they are too full of my English walnuts to bother or it might be they prefer tulips. Not sure yet. Will find out! Your front yard sounds lovely! Sorry about that darn snow. I recall it’s one of the major reasons I left Ohio. ๐Ÿ™‚ Must also be where I got my early bulb programming! Kathryn xoxo

  7. A belated Happy Birthday Kathryn ๐Ÿ™‚

    Is there any mystery about planting bulbs??? I just stick ’em in the ground and let them get on with it …it seems to work for me! Sounds like you’ve got a lovely collection of bulbs there – you should have a stunning show when they all flower.

  8. Hi, Liz! Thank you for the b’day wishes! No, apparently if you live in a temperate climate, which we both do (if I ignore all the SNOW you had this last winter!!) then you can just merrily stick the bulbs in the ground and see what happens. I’ll let you know how it turns out! Kathryn xoxo

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