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Being around the house more these days, I now have the time and energy to work a little bulb magic! Living in a tiny house with a small yard on the fringes of  East Sacramento’s “Fabulous Forties” can be a little deflating at times. The “Fab Forties” is a neighborhood of mature tree-lined streets and well-kept mansions and bungalows. They do it up big time for Christmas, 4th of July and many homes in the area are professionally landscaped.

My Christmas light display will never come close to the wonder and grandeur of The Forties. My flowerbeds will never contain the hundreds (thousands?) of tulips and other bulbs that stop traffic every spring. Why? Because it’s an expensive proposition, even scaled down. And tulips need replanting every year. And if I were to buy my bulbs individually at nearly a dollar each… well, forget it. But you know what? I like living a scaled down life right now. It can be described with all kinds of good words like “affordable” and “manageable” and “simple”.

Come to think of it, I don’t want to be the “crazy tulip lady” or “crazy Christmas lights lady”, spending thousands of dollars each year and exhausting myself with the pressure to outdo my neighbors or myself from the previous year. I’m OCD enough without having to add Spring and Christmas into the mix.

Still, I thought about the tulips… “Why not me?” After doing a little online research, I found Colorblends, a bulk supplier of bulbs with great prices and a good reputation. After perusing their online catalog, I ended up ordering 100 tulip bulbs ($35) and 25 daffodils. The tulips will line my walkway like a mini version of the Fab 40’s displays. It won’t be as dense or expansive, but a hundred tulip bulbs is still pretty cool considering right now I put on a sweeping display of zero.

And, OMG, Colorblends offers… well, color blends of different tulip varieties that develop and bloom much like a fireworks display. Varying heights, colors and maturation times ensure a nice long display that comes on quietly and steadily, then explodes into bloom like the State Fair fireworks display. The blend I ended up going with for Spring, 2014 is the Jacques and Jill™ blend. It’s breathtaking and lively.

I wanted colors that will mesh well with what I’ve already planted, like my pinky-peach Abutilon, my magenta Phygelius, and yellow-pink-orange Cuphea. I think of my new tulips as a Fab Forties display in micro. Micro-fab.

Jacques and Jill Tulip blend from Colorblends

Jacques and Jill Tulip blend from Colorblends (Photo courtesy of Colorblends)

As for the daffodils, I was drawn to ‘Pimpernel’s’ tangerine cups and softer yellow petals. I plan to plant those in a single clump closer to the street. The nice thing about daffodils is that they naturalize. You plant them once and they grow and multiply year after year.

I used to find bulb planting in Sacramento clay to be quite tedious and frustrating, until I discovered the bulb auger (cue angels singing). It’s a drill attachment that makes quick work of planting bulbs. It’s also a tool that actually works, unlike the cliched one-handed bulb planter that would crumple like a beer can on a frat boy’s head were I to actually try using one in clay soil again.


‘Pimpernel’ Daffodil from Colorblends (Photo courtesy of Colorblends)

One last note. Tulips require 6 weeks of chilling in temperate parts. I guess that’s one thing I didn’t think about… how I’m going to fit 100 tulip bulbs in my cabinet-depth Samsung fridge. I know, I know. It’s a nice problem to have. And sorry, Kim. ♥

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