Well, I apologize, I am long overdue for an update on the divine Simon’s condition. It has been a long cold winter; Corinne and I have been making weekly trips to Cornell for progress checks and bandage changes. Dr Tarbert, Simon’s favorite vet is very particular when it comes to Simon’s curative figure-8 wing wrap. As she gently manipulates the cotton and vet wrap around Simon’s injured wing, she explains to the 3rd and 4th year vet students assigned to her rotation that it is a very challenging operation to perform correctly. Too tight, and the wing is pinched, compromising healing and causing unnecessary discomfort. Too loose, and it will pop off at the least provocation. Dr. Tarbert is so persnickety about this technique that she hesitates to even allow her experienced rehabilitators to do the procedure. We appreciate her perfectionism.

The first bandage Dr. Tarbert and Amanda attached to Simon was red, it look very nice against the white of her feathers. The following week Dr. Tarbert did a purple vet wrap, Amanda fashioned a lovely little heart. Simon ate it.

Simon has been making steady progress, suffering a slight set back last week. Simon was doing so well, we had hoped that her final visit might be last week. On Simon’s third visit we saw a different Veterinarian, Dr Morrisey, another fantastic faculty member specializing in avian patients. Dr Morrisey is a true bird lover, regaling us with his stories of the guinea hens he keeps. I have to confess, I was intrigued and thought of adding some to our menagerie. Corinne, who was at Mackenzie-Childs when there were guinea hens, said, “NO, absolutely Not!”.

Simon liked Dr. Morissey’s dashing silver hair, so much like hers. Simon considered that maybe he could try the pouf look so they could be twins.

 

Dr. Morissey conducts a thorough examination of Simon’s injured wing. Third year Vet student, Kate assists.

However, if Dr. Morrisey and Dr. Tarbert were to have a figure-8 wrap-off, Dr. Tarbert would win. In Dr. Morrisey’s defense, Simon was probably feeling much better by the time he wrapped her and was definitely attempting to do much more yoga and wing flapping than she had been when she first injured her wing. Anyway, within 24 hours of our visit, Simon had stretched and slipped off the very attractive light blue (to match her eyes) bandage Dr. Morrisey had placed on her wing. We hauled her back to Cornell (two trips in two days, and the roads are so BUMPY!) and Dr, Morrisey applied another bandage (Spring green-we can always hope). he sent us home with the instructions that, “if the fluffy little minx slips this off, just wait and bring her back in for her regular appointment next Wednesday.” The next day-ZING! Off pops the bandage. I emailed Dr. Morrisey who admitted defeat and told us she likely would be discharged the following week anyway.

We got all excited. Ordered her a new pool. Do you know how hard it is to get a hard plastic kiddie pool in February? Finding it is easy, they are inexpensive, too. Shipping, on the other hand… We found a source that had free shipping to the local hardware store. Todd, at the tour center, was planning to dig his palm out of storage. I made a cake. I brought in  little drinky umbrellas (no alcohol, this is work).

See how the beautiful blue bandage matches Simon’s eyes and nicely coordinates with her feathers.

Then, last Monday, Simon was following Corinne around waiting for her special breakfast of baby lettuce and arugula (we were soooo fussy when we first injured our wing and developed quite the special diet preferences) and she maybe got excited and whacked her wing on a door-frame. We were so afraid she had re-broke her wing. She was holding it like she had when she first injured it. She was subdued and she and Corinne looked like they were in pain. We were able to sneak some pain management medicine in a spinach leaf (for Simon, Corinne just had to suck it up) and called Cornell to see if we could move up her appointment. Dr. Tarbert (our hero!) said she could fit us in the next day.

We trundled off to Cornell last Tuesday fearing the worst and ready for a long period in the waiting room while they x-rayed and bandaged her. Corinne was in a state, worried that this time there would be surgery. Dr Tarbert carefully felt her wing and checked the area of the break. She pronounced, “No, Simon did not re-break her wing” and it was continuing to heal. She re-bandaged her and sent us home for another week.

This time we sported a very feminine pink. Dr. Tarbert took some extra precautions with the “Escape Artist” and added a bit of sticky tape. Simon thought it marred the elegant lines of the pink glove–as she began to think of it–but realized beauty at times must bend to function.

Well, yesterday was our scheduled visit to the Exotic Animals Clinic at Cornell. Behavior-wise, Simon was much her old self. Perhaps the most since her injury since she was much more vocal as we sat in the waiting room. The waiting area was very busy, full of dogs (Simon does not like dogs) and ferrets and their associated owners. Our new vet student, Caitlyn, ushered us into the separate waiting room. Simon spent a bit of time telling Caitlyn why she should keep her distance until they got to know each other better. Dr. Tarbert came in and examined Simon, removing the bandage and carefully feeling her wing in the damaged area. She determined there was no instability and decided not to re-bandage her wing. Because her wing had been bandaged so long, she was fearful that if we kept the bandage on longer the muscles would atrophy and her healing would be affected. Dr. Tarbert discharged Simon with instructions to safeguard her as much as possible from whacking her wing on things and that yes, she could have her pool back.

We are healed and clean again. Life is good.

Corinne and Simon were overjoyed. We hurried back home where Corinne filled up her leaky pool (the new one is not in yet) and Simon spent her allotted 15 minutes SWIMMING! Oh, the joy! Finally a bath! Pool party next week!

Simon and Corinne had an interesting week here at the MacKenzie-Childs Estate. It culminated in Simon taking her first real car ride, and even more people seeing and falling in love with our “Princess.”

A little back story. We have an area on the estate called the Chicken Palace. Back in the day, it housed all sorts of exotic birds but now we just keep a few chickens, our flock of geese, and Sherman the peacock. The entire building used to be devoted to geese but a few years ago, when we got sheep, we put a fence down the middle of the goose yard and divided it into a sheep side and a bird side. Our reasoons were twofold; the geese had grown increasingly less friendly (as geese are wont) and the sheep would eat all the goose food if given access (not good for their digestion, health, and figures!). Additionally, everyone wanted to visit the sheep, especially after lambs were born, and the geese tended to harass anyone who entered their enclosure. A few years into this arrangement, we adopted Simon.

Simon has never been with the other geese. Geese maintain a pecking order and none of us could bear to see Simon run the gauntlet; also, if we incorporated her in with the rest of the geese, in all likelihood, she would grow less friendly as time passed. For a while Simon was content to live separate from the rest of the animals. We built a special pen for her in the Estate barn and all was good. However, geese are flock animals; after her first season laying eggs, Simon changed. She was no longer content in her singles condominium, no matter how plush. Because of the the whole bullying thing, we were unwilling to have her integrate with the other geese. Our solution was to make a little fort for her on the sheep side. It was a perfect solution. She had the sheep as friends and could pseudo mingle with her species. That brings us to this past week’s unfortunate event.

Boys will be boys and even sheepy (former) boys get rambunctious sometimes. Over the weekend Corinne came in to work to discover that Simon was having difficulties doing her yoga  (the beautiful wing spread and flap thing she likes to do after bathing and preening). In addition, she was absolutely frantic around the sheep. Our conclusion was that one of the sheep (we are talking about you, Duncan) decided to chase and butt poor Simon. Absolutely normal sheep behavior. Not knowing quite the problem, we separated Simon from the sheep by building a little fence inside the fence and gave her a few days to see if her left wing got better. Simon was a little off feed but was drinking and behaving normally otherwise. By Tuesday, we decided we were not confident she was progressing toward normal wing movement and considered how to get help.

We are very fortunate to be 30 miles from Cornell University, home of one of the top Veterinary Schools in the world. After a few phone calls we had an appointment for Wednesday. Since this winter is being an old-fashioned snowy, cold winter, we had to cancel due to impassable road conditions. Provided with a rescheduled early Thursday morning (Corinne did NOT sleep) appointment, we bundled Simon into a cozy, new box and commenced our epic journey. Following is a photo diary of the rest of the story…

We took Simon to the Exotic Animals Division of the Companion Animal Hospital

Simon was a perfect passenger. She never made a peep. Corinne was a little nervous as we entered the doors of the Hospital

We signed in “Simon MacKenzie-Childs” and waited patiently for our turn

Corinne and Simon kept each other calm. So many dogs were also waiting to be seen! That made them (Corinne and Simon) a little concerned. But they were very quiet and did not draw attention to themselves.

Amanda, a 4th-year vet student, assisted Dr. Tarbert in her very gentle and thorough examination of Simon’s general health.

Dr. Danielle Tarbert is an exotic animal veterinarian who divides her time between Cornell and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse. Here she is testing the flexibility of Simon’s uninjured wing.

Look very carefully at the circled area. This is Simon’s radiograph showing her broken ulna. As you can see it has already started knitting back together.

Simon, back home and happy, standing in her water dish because we cannot let her bandage get wet. She will sport this jaunty red (for Valentine’s Day) bandage until we go back for a follow-up next Tuesday.

So, this story has a definite silver lining. Simon is going to be fine. Dr Tarbert bound her wing to ensure it would heal properly. We were very relieved it did not require surgery (I am not sure Corinne would have survived that). We also found out Simon is a really good car passenger. Maybe Corinne can take her on vacation with her…

Today is Simon’s second birthday. In honor of our resident mascot goose, I shall do what I used to do with my children on their birthdays–tell you the special story of her life. Simon was born on our farm three years after we had re-goosed the flock at MacKenzie-Childs. When I first began gardening here there was a motley flock of geese that were very unfriendly. Some were quite old and ragged looking. I did some research and found that the geese we had were excellent watch geese, but not very personable. Other breeds of geese were recommended for kinder, gentler personalities. We offered the older geese to employees and ordered 6 American Buff and 6 Tufted Roman Goslings from a mail order poultry specialist. The geese arrived just before Memorial Day, when I picked them up at the post office they made the most enchanting fluting sound. We raised them in a cattle tank in our garage until they were too large for the space and old enough to be without supplemental heat, They imprinted on my daughter and me. When I first moved them to Mackenzie-Childs, I was able to take them for walks as they would follow me everywhere. They would not, however, be herded into the Chicken Palace at night and our grounds keeper would chase them around and around the building trying to put them in at night. This activity made them much less tractable and soon they, too, became less friendly.  A skewed male/female ratio further alienated the geese when breeding season came around the next spring. The nine ganders were very protective of the three geese when they began sitting on eggs. Subsequent goslings that hatched out were un touchable. Simon as a gosling So many people would want to hold the adorable balls of chartreuse fluff when goslings hatched, Corinne and I would risk life and limb to catch them. Then came the year Simon hatched. We hypothesize that Simon’s mother may have been a very low status goose since she began sitting so late in the season and had not been allowed in the chicken palace by the other sitting mothers. By the time Simon and her siblings broke free from their shells, all of the other goslings were nearly indistinguishable from the adults. We came in on the morning that Simon hatched only to find that the other geese had destroyed the nest and all the babies, Simon was saved from the carnage because she had slipped through the fence and was wandering around forlornly calling her mother. We scooped her up and made the split second decision to adopt her. Simon imprinted on us and spent her early days in my office. Word of advice–geese and small spaces are not ideal matches. She would sit at my feet as I did desk work and was everyone’s darling. As Simon has grown, she and Corinne have become inseparable. Corinne is so very patient and often comes in on her days off to care for Simon because “no one else understands her”. Simon has graced the Barn Sale T-shirts, has an ornament, is the star of our children’s enamelware, is featured on the new Aurora Dinnerware, and is very much a fashion model in the catalogs.   So next time you visit, make sure you say hello to Simon–she is the goose who lives with the sheep. She does not think she is a goose!

Brothaigh and new baby Dolly

Corinne was convinced lambing season was never happening. It is probably incorrect to say we have had a strange spring. I think the weather is never “normal”. Last spring was incredibly early, this spring seems late but may just be normal. Anyway, since last year we had lambs on Mother’s Day- Corinne has been antsy since Mother’s Day passed this year.  I checked the calendar and with the fellow who boarded our girls for their “Date Month” and confirmed that the earliest possible date would be May 17. Apparently, Brothaigh checked the calendar and delivered Sunday morning.
Poor Corinne- the townie- was left to serve as midwife. She and Jodie had remote assistance as I talked them through some of the specifics of lambing. Most of the time, the ewes do just fine without help. My involvement was mostly reassuring Corinne that , “that is normal” and, “if nothing has progressed, call me in 30 minutes”. Post delivery there were also phone calls and even a stop in to reassure Corinne that, “yes, everything is fine”.

Monday we moved mum and baby out into the end cap so they could have both alone time and our co-workers and visitors could see the new baby. I sent out an all company email and Corinne and the girls allowed supervised visits on breaks. The employees not on campus clamored for picture! Pictures! Pictures! Having been chastised in the past for sending an all company email with a big file attachment (I think lambs were involved) I knew better. So, here are pictures for all the cute deprived peoples of the world. Meet Dolly.

 

A 17th century Gouache on parchment image of acanthus by Johannes Simon Holtzbecher

This week I am starting the first entry in my winter project: create a plant profile for each garden plant we feature in the various MacKenzie Childs gardens. My hope is to create a property personal data base of everything I have planted. This feature should provide visitors who are interested in knowing more about the specific choices I have made, what each plant’s care needs are, and in what gardens that plant can be found.

A Roman example of the use of acanthus leaves in stone carvings

Acanthus mollis, common name, Bear’s Breeches, is an ancient plant that originated in Southern Europe. The leaves of Acanthus have been immortalized in the sculpted designs of Greek Corinthian columns as far back as the fifth century B.C. The 10 inch leaves have been featured in carvings and artwork for centuries.

Acanthus leaves carved into the Baroque capitals on the facade of the Duomo di Siricusa in Sicily

It is a large, statuesque plant that spreads three feet and has flowering stalks shooting up to four feet. According to Armitage, who calls the spiky flowers lovely, and somewhat unnerving, it thrives in moist, rich soil but is drought tolerant once established. It is one of those amenable plants that will grow in partial sun and full sun. The glossy leaves are said to be evergreen but they will get quite tattered in a cold climate like ours (USDA zone 5).

It is easy to see the appeal of the glossy leaves

 

Around here, acanthus is a bit hard to find. I have had plant envy since my undergrad days at Cornell where the Plantations had the stunning (and sharp) A. spinosus as part of the groundcover collection. I was able to buy a plant for my home garden twenty years ago and nurtured it into a presentable colony before I moved. The leaves are reminiscent of Scotch Thistle, our emblem; since the plants are much more desirable and much less invasive that Scotch thistle, I have been on a plant quest since I began designing the property gardens. I was not able to find it in MacKenzie-Childs quantities until last spring. We planted 50 plugs into the was black hole that is the white garden with hopes that it would believe it was  in a zone 6 garden and would survive. I will update this spring.

William Morris Acanthus Wallpaper

Lucky, one of our three barn cats and self proclaimed King of the Cats, supervises our winter task completion progress. Number one on his list is “Pet the King a lot”.

Some time ago, in November, Crystal commented to the blog with the following question” What do you do around the fall and winter months? What important tasks are there for gardeners to tend to during this time when the flowers are not blooming? Are you also the one who does the beekeeping? I read briefly about it on the blog but not much, is that project still ongoing?”

This fall we, and by we- I mean the people inside who actually know how to work the internet and things more complicated than a trowel, revamped the blog and moved its address. In that process, Crystal’s question got missed. In the dead of the winter, I work a lot from home- this is when I unearthed her comment and decided it would be a great blog post! It may take even more than one posting to answer her.

Firstly- In November, when she asked the question, I still had a huge number of garden jobs to complete before the “year end”. We were in the thick of Holiday decorating, in the middle on garden clean up, and not even started on the 16,000 plus bulbs I had ordered for fall planting. We had a long way to go before we would have the leisure to read seed catalogs next to a wood fire. So, where to begin; should I start from when the flowers stopped blooming or chronicle by calendar sequence? For organizational ease, I will start in January. If I am a good blogger, this will be a monthly feature.

Katie captured this beautiful sunset last night. Reason #3549 the east shore of Cayuga Lake is the best place to locate a business.

Garden Jobs:

  • Take down Holiday wreaths, trees, garlands. Compost plant components, store away bows, cones, test lights, organize, inventory, and store until next November
  • If gardens are free from snow cover, continue applying 2-3 inches of compost, taking care not to bury crowns
  • If heavy snows, knock snow off evergreens, especially arborvitae and boxwood, to avoid splitting damage

Animal Jobs:

  • Pick through fleeces, removing tags and vegetative debris to prep for sending off to wool mill for cleaning, carding and spinning
  • Check vet records of cows, sheep and cats to schedule annual vet checks and shot boosters
  • Check bee hives on warm days, add nutrient patties toward end of January to encourage queen to begin laying
  • Arrange for Libby, Brothaigh, and Dulcie to return from their “breeding holiday” with Odin

Property Jobs

  • Keep drives, parking lots, walks clear of snow and ice
  • Scrape and prep greenhouse
  • Re-install cold frame sashes
  • Wash and sanitize pots for plants
  • Extract and bottle fall harvested honey

Armchair Gardening Jobs

  • Review 2012 garden purchases, projects. Sort out the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
  • Plan 2013 projects
  • Review 2012 bulb planting, assemble lists, by garden
  • Plan and order seeds and plants for gardens 2013
  • Compose plant profile for every plant in gardens since 2007- this is my big goal for this year
  • Create a year beekeeping plan- order supplies as needed
  • Work with creative director and marketing director planning estate events for the year.

The plant search involves lots of reference material, various highlighters, and good coffee.

Well, this is a start. I can be kept quite busy with strictly administrative and planning type work in the “non-growing” portion of the year. With as estate as large and as diverse as MacKenzie-Childs, there is always something that needs doing. If I were only gardening for myself, likely I would not have quite so many tasks- that said, this list is much like the list we had as I was growing up on the farm. Clean and sharpen your tools, fix what is broken, plan for a better year, and hibernate a little.

Fred Bertram, one of our decorators, is also a fantastic photographer whose work we have been privileged to show on the blog. He shot this image of the Farmhouse last night as well.

 

A New Year. I start every January full of optimism and plans for the coming season; I think most of us do. For me there is always the need to make a list, improve the things I did not quite like, make big plans, and do a spring cleaning (early in winter!).

On the farm, we start the year with a jobs list. Our wreaths, garlands, lights, and trees that have been up since right before Thanksgiving are usually taken down after the first full week of January. I like to leave evergreens and a few white lights through the dark winter days (we are in a snowy climate) but the overtly Holiday trimmings get tucked away for another year.  The past few winters have been- in an old farming term- open winters. Maybe a little warmer than usual (a lot warmer last year) and no snow; the winds off the lake and over the fields can be biting and raw with no moisture. This year we have had some lovely (or pesky- if you have to plow and shovel it) snow. Not just a dusting but honest-to-goodness-snowman-building-let’s-sled snow. The evergreen and white lights look appropriate against the whiteness.

I will be making my seed and plant shopping lists. This year is really the year I want to do some amazing things in the production garden. The Barnsale Barn got a fresh coat of paint this fall- I want the herb squares and vegetable beds to hold up their end of the bargain. We get so many visitors; I really want that area to shine this year.

I was lucky enough to lunch with Josh and Brent of the Fabulous Beekman Boys before Christmas when they visited for a book signing. They are truly fabulous; I had a wonderful time talking shop with them about plants, bees, gardens, animals, and cheese. I was especially keen to meet them; they hail from my home county, Schoharie, in a very rural area of upstate New York. The people there have had some pretty tough breaks in recent years so it was heartening to hear how they have created a place of warmth and prosperity for the hard working folk in the area. Stay tuned, we discussed the possibility of collaborating on a special project.

So, here at the start of another year I have my clean pads of paper, my favorite pens, seed and plant catalogs, and a head full of plans to list off and begin implementation. I love the idea of the whole season ahead.

 

It has been a long time since I have taken the time to post anything on the blog. A busy fall with many tasks kept me away form my computer for anything but administrative duties. With the dual challenges of planting over 17,000 bulbs (whose idea was it to order that many!?) and getting the property appropriately decked out for the holidays, I just could not wrap my brain around a good garden story. I had this film in the wings, waiting to be made into a post.

Way back in August we were privileged to host master beekeeper Peter Loring Borst, who just may be one of the coolest beekeepers alive, as is demonstrated here. Peter checked over our four hives with us at midday on one of the 90 degree days (remember those?) we had last summer. We sweated up a storm but the bees were busy and content.

Katie, our super talented in house photographer and video queen, filmed our hive check with Peter. We got a unique opportunity to assess our hive care with a master. I am hoping our implementation of his suggestions will help carry our four colonies over the winter. So enjoy the video with my carefully time narration!

 

Fred Bertram, one of our decorator/teacher trainers in furniture deco, took this beautiful sunrise shot on an early fall morning

Last week I wrote about my top tulip picks. This week, I give you my top Narcissi selections. I confess, in my bulb catalogs, usually the tulips come before the narcissi. Sometimes I find myself so worn out by all the decisions I have made in selecting the tulips that I give the narcissi short shrift. It is really unfair since narcissi work so much better for creating a predictable display. They are better perennializers, rarely asking for more than an occasional dividing; with attention to selecting varieties, it is possible to have six weeks of bloom; their foliage is very tolerable as it ripens, blending into the landscape; and, most importantly, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, and voles do not eat them.
A simple glance at any bulb catalog or website provides a plethora of choices. Years ago, to help sort it all out, I bought the fantastic Daffodils for North American Gardens by Brent and Becky Heath. This book helped me venture beyond Trumpets and paperwhites. Here are a few of my favorites.

Large Cupped Audubon

The Large Cupped Narcissi Audubon is one of my favorites from hybridizer Grant Mitsch. This April bloomer is the what would typically be called a pink daffodil, a misnomer, as they are really coral.

Large Cupped Raspberry Ring

Another “pink” narcissi, Raspberry Ring in a fragrant April daffodil that graces many of the gardens. I have planted several hundred in the Rose Garden, where I decided to feature only pink hued narcissi

Double Tahiti

I do not always fancy double flowers but I have quite a fondness for Tahiti; it seldom “blasts,” a condition where the flower fails to open, and has stems strong enough to support the weight of the double flower. Tahiti is featured with the red and orange tulips of the Bus Stop Garden.

Jonquilla Beautiful Eyes

Beautiful Eyes is fragrant and blooms late April, early May. This beauty, bred by Brent Heath, has multiple flowers per stem.

Double Manly

Oh my gosh, I just love this one. I think I have planted it everwhere.

Poeticus Actaea

This photo shot in the Farmhouse Garden features one of my tulip picks, China Pink, with the heirloom narcissi Actaea. When I think of narcissi, this is the one that first comes to my mind

Jonquilla Dickcissel

Dickcissel is a sweet Jonquilla that reverses the usual dark cup with a light corona that is typical of most bi-color narcissi. Blooming in May, the cup gets even paler as the flower matures.

Jonquilla Sailboat

I do not plant many single variety narcissi in the White Garden since the garden came about as a result of planting 5000 bulbs in a naturalizing mix. I make exceptions for this graceful ivory colored cutie.

Large Cupped Suada

Suada is what bulb growers call sunproof; it is a strong April bloomer that provides weeks of bright blooms.

Cyclamineus Jetfire

I love this little early blooming cyclanineus narcissi. Because it blooms so early in the spring, I locate it at critical points in the gardens, like at the Shop sign, so that I can be sure our visitors see it.

This list, as with my Tulip list, is a combination of the narcissi that strike my fancy today and, sadly, what I have pictures of. I am sure next spring I will have a new “Oh, that is my favorite” on a daily basis. As with tulips, my favorite go to sources are here and here. I also pick up a few here and here- they tend to carry the more unusual varieties.

Delicious variations of Tulip Mix Melony Day

Finally, a nice, long, rainy day. We have been so busy for so long trying to keep up with the weeds and the deadheading and the harvesting and the panting (yes, still!) that gloomy, overcast day- the kind you leave your desk light on all day for- is just what we needed. I have spent the morning compiling my list of bulbs I have ordered so that we can put their images in my annual planting album- more about that later. A little lunchtime blog reading got me thinking I should post.

The greatest percentage of my selections is tulips. We treat our tulips as annuals, preferring to dig them immediately after bloom rather than allowing the foliage to ripen in place. We give the spent bulbs to our fellow employees. The reason we do this is threefold. 1). Tulips look best the first year they are planted 2). I do not label the bulbs; it would be difficult to supplement the existing bulbs either to pump up the planting or replace missing/eaten bulbs and 3). Tulip foliage is ugly and big as it ripens down.

Because I plant new bulbs every fall, I have an opportunity to change up or vary the selection. Some tulips are mainstays, necessary every year to the look of the garden, and of course, the bulb companies introduce, or reintroduce new varieties every year. Here are my top ten (This year- always subject to change)

Salmon Parrot Tulip

I love many of the colors of the exotic Parrot Tulips; Salmon Parrot, with its creams, pinks, and soft salmons, shines in most of my pink based borders

Single Late Tulip Bleu Aimable

Bleu Aimable is a color that works in all my borders, it really pops pinks and provides a striking contrast in hot color combinations. In addition, it is a late bloomer that bridges the late bulb/ early perennial display in the borders

Hot Colored Parrot Tulips

Okay- this is a cheater entry. I just love this combination of Estella Rijnveld, Flaming Parrot, and Rococo. It is a wonderfully flamboyant mix that puts an over-the-top look to the Bus Stop Border

Single Late Tulip Dordogne

Dordogne is another late bloomer I like to incorporate in many of my gardens. It brings warmth to the more pink combinations and melds beautifully with stronger yellows and reds in my hot borders

Peony Tulip Cretaceous

Cretaceous is a Peony Flowered Tulip that behaves like a blend. Some will be mostly yellow, some red, most are a luscious orange that glows and drawns you in from across the parking lot. They are floppy- but with these colors- who cares!

Darwin Tulip Akebono

This peony tulip opens into an multilayered yellow kissed with apricot. Fantastic in my Farmhouse Garden

Peony Tulip Creme Upstar

Creme Upstar Peony Tulip is very similar to Akebono, but softer. It has such a beautiful infusion of cream laced with pink- reminds me of raspberries and Jersey cream

Single Late Tulips Cum Laude, Queen of the Night, and Lily Flowered China Pink

This entry is a combination because I did not have a shot of each separate. China Pink is the quintessential pink tulip for my gardens: clear, blue pink that I repeat in various forms and saturations. The creams and purples I select are chosen to play off pinks that are the backbone of the gardens. Cum Laude and Queen of the Night are the dark purples that I incorporate by the hundreds to set off the pinks.

Oh, the challenge to narrow my choices to my top picks! I order between 50 and 70 different varieties every year but these are some of my must haves.

I placed my bulb orders in July but there is still lots of time to make selections. Some of my favorite sources are here, here, and here. Corinne, Ashlee, Sam, and I are now waiting for the crates and boxes to show up. What would you pick?