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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

photo by Julie Blanford

Tulips have been one of my favorite spring flowers for many years. They provide a wonderful burst of color to the landscape and require little care.

These spring-blooming perennials grow from bulbs. The flower has three petals and comes in a wide variety of colors. Although these flowers have long been associated with Holland, the flower is native to Turkey and central Asia. According to Flora of Jordan, three varieties of wild tulip grow in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. But, Holland remains the leading producer of tulip bulbs, with more than 3 billion cultivated each year.

Many websites provide information about growing tulips. Some tips are provided below (http://www.ehow.com/facts_4915097_tulip-facts.html):
•    To bloom in the spring, bulbs should be planted the previous fall or winter.
•    Tulips are considered a tolerant flower. Though they do best in well-drained, loose soil, they will bloom in just about any soil environment as long as it isn't too soggy.
•    If you want to enjoy tulips for more than just a few weeks, you can plant several different types with different blooming periods.
•    With some effort, tulips may be grown indoors. Just plant the bulbs in a flower pot and place them in the cold outdoors for 2 or 3 weeks. When the plant is brought into the warm indoors, the bulbs will bloom.
•    Once harvested, cut tulips can stay fresh – if given proper care – for up to 10 days. Choose tulips that have not fully opened, and cut the stems to the desired length at a diagonal to allow them to better absorb water. Add commercial plant food or a pinch of sugar to the tulip's water to help them look good longer.

Twenty-five years ago, my oldest daughter and I returned home from a spring break trip to Europe. We were exhausted and my grandmother had died while we were gone. When we arrived home, my late husband had planted blooming tulips along our sidewalk, had the yard mowed, and had the house cleaned. I was happy to be home with my family, and I still remember the impact of those tulips in my front yard. Last fall, my oldest daughter bought more tulip bulbs. We set some in my yard, and we’re enjoying their color.

In 1968, Tiny Tim sang about tiptoeing through tulips (The song charted at #17.). The Bible says: “For, all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall….” (1 Peter 1:24). Tulips bloom for a short time, but bloom year after year. And, they are beautiful.

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