For the last two years, I’ve made a handful of trips to Europe for work, and I’ve carefully coordinated it so that I’ve had layovers in Amsterdam. I’ve spent all of one rainy night actually touring the beautiful city, and would love to someday spend several days soaking up the rich architecture, scenic canals and incredible art, but my layovers have been motivated by one purpose only: tulip bulbs.
Schipol Airport in Amsterdam has a number of shops that showcase the variety of uniquely shaped (ruffled and pointed!) and colored (green strips! dark black!) bulbs available in the Netherlands, with a few bags approved for import to the United States (be sure to carefully check the labels to avoid a big problem in customs). On my first trip I was feeling generous, and brought home tulip bulbs for my mom and brother. The last two trips I kept my carry-on fairly empty for plenty of flowers all for selfish me.
Once home, I stretched my bulbs out as far as I could, hoping to have my pointed, green and red striped beauties peek their heads out of the dirt all over the yard in the spring … which they did … which I finally realized looked ridiculous.
This year, alas, I will have no new Dutch bulbs to plant. But that’s ok, I’ve realized, because this is the year I’m going to give my exotic beauties some local company. This is the year, I have declared, for going overboard on bulbs.
And I mean seriously overboard.
In addition to more traditional red tulips, which I feel will make the more exotic varieties better stand out, I have plans for couple other new additions. The biggest addition I’m planning to make is lots of daffodils.
The biggest single lesson I learned last year is that I am not the only local tulip lover. I have had major competition from the squirrels who found the holes dug for tulips to be easy access points for placing their acorns (and snacking on my bulbs). I learned courtesy of the American Daffodil Society that squirrels will not eat daffodils, and that frequent placement of these cheery beauties may help prevent squirrels from bothering other bulbs (of course, it may not. I guess we’ll see).
This blog was prompted by a flier this morning for my local nursery’s early bulb sale. I hope to have an update for you within the next few weeks, as we get deeper into September, about my bulb activities, and a few additional lessons learned from years past.