“Oh, that’s a pretty flower over there…” has been the extent of my involvement in the world of gardening to date. I’ve always sort of wanted to grow stuff but was never motivated enough with a small yard, clay soil and having to be outside in the hot California sun. But moving to this rural island in the Pacific Northwest it became evident fairly quickly that my lackadaisical attitude towards gardening was not going to cut it. There may not be a mall or a Target here, but boy are there gardens. And people here know their stuff, let me tell you….they grow vegetables I’ve never even heard of, have animated discussions at the grocery store about this herb or that. And my city slicker ignorance of all things nature has reared its head more than once…and I’m not even from the city, for God’s sake.
I’ll give you an example. New friends of ours here on the island gave us a huge bag of tulip bulbs to plant last November. With an acre of land to work with now, I was super excited at the thought of growing tulips and checked my front yard frequently after planting them for signs of life. It took a few months, but finally green stems started to pop up. I began watching my tulips obsessively, checking their progress each day. The minute the first one bloomed I was there, camera in hand, so proud of my beautiful yellow tulip.
I immediately shot off an email to my friends who gave me the bulbs with a photo of the tulip attached. Shortly after, I received a response from my friend, who I’m sure was quite amused, congratulating me on…..my daffodil. Yup, after all that watching and waiting and telling everyone about the tulip garden I was growing, turns out I can’t tell a freakin tulip from a daffodil.
So this past weekend, in fear of being exiled off this island, we drove out to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mt. Vernon, Washington for a little education. In addition to seeing spectacular scenery, I can now identify 47 different varieties of tulips. Well, that’s a lie…but it sure was pretty!
I’ve since become inspired by my not-tulip daffodils and by the actual tulips that came up shortly after. I’m buying seeds and flowers and plants, got myself a decent pair of gardening gloves. So if you’re ever passing by my house on Bainbridge Island, you may very well find me in the front yard, admiring my garden and watching and waiting for my peonies to come up….I think.
SLIDESHOW FROM OUR TRIP TO THE TULIP FESTIVAL