Trust me, an addiction like that is its own hell–like giving a piggyback ride to the devil every fall and then again in spring. While some might argue that losing control on the tulip front is a victimless crime, only a fool would deny the collateral damage. Ask anybody who lives in an addict’s neighborhood, and they’ll tell you about the social costs of bulb addiction.
1. The addict spends exorbitant sums of money that might be used instead to bail out an investment bank or to buy small children shoes. And the street-level price of a normal complement of tulips is roughly 50% higher than it was just a year or two ago. The soaring cost of oil now appears to be built into everything but the fees people pay writers.
And let’s be clear about the unconscionable waste: While a certain percentage of bulb money may be used to buy perennial bulbs, the vast majority always goes to showy annual tulips. The addict whose bill we’re looking at here has basically thrown herself a $150 party scheduled for May. That money might have bought 6 fruit trees instead, which would have fed the addict’s family for years. But motherly love is no match for the craving for double lates.
2. Sometimes when these annual bulbs are being planted, innocent perennial bulbs get hurt. An allium is sliced in two or a lily mashed. Oh, the addict may try to keep her problem from hurting any bystanders. She may replace annual tulips with short dahlias in late May, so that when the dahlias are lifted after a frost, they reveal a spot where tulips can be safely planted. But eventually, inevitably, she’s driven back into the dark depths of the flower border, looking for a spot to sneakily tuck in more more more.
4. Sometimes she mixes substances in a potentially lethal way. Notice the experimental species tulips and iris histrioides on the bill above.
5. Sometimes her bulb obsession leaves embarrassing gaps in her border as the foliage dies away. The neighbors feel she depresses property values and are hoping the next mayor cracks down on this kind of thing.