Last week, a woman who'd just moved to Saratoga Springs walked by my house and admired my tulips. "How many years do they last for you?"
I shrugged. "I treat them as annuals and replace them with short dahlias as soon as they are done blooming."
Her jaw dropped at the extravagance. Which it is. But somehow any extravagance involving food or plants seems entirely reasonable to me.
Nonetheless, encouraged by fellow Ranter Elizabeth Licata, I've been planting species tulips in recent years. They are not only graceful, but some of them even have some of the punch of hybrid tulips, in that they are surprisingly colorful and tall enough to make a decent show. Best of all, they are not disappearing into shadow world after a single explosive spring. They are multiplying.
My tulipa tarda–the relatively common yellow and white tulip that grows in short clumps, like a particularly shapely and chic crocus–has already finished blooming.
But check out these two beauties: tulipa sylvestris.
And my favorite: tulipa whittallii.