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The Dirt for August 30 2013

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Helpful Tip from the Garden Geeks:   It wont be long before tulips start popping up in the stores and tempting every garden geek out there. Here are a few things to remember when purchasing tulip bulbs:

* Hybrids are not bred to bloom repeatedly year after year. If you are looking for a low maintenance tulip, stick to species (or botanical) tulips like Tulipa batalinii, Tulipa clusiana, Tulipa eichleri, Tulipa humilis , Tulipa praestans, Tulipa turkestanica and several others. To see many species and hybrid tulips

* "Firm and fat" is how healthy, quality tulip bulbs should appear. Don't worry about a tattered papery outer layer, but avoid bulbs with soft spots, bruises, or nicks.

* Do a little bulb hunting. Garden centers are stocked with the most common (and most profitable for them) hybrids. Look about online or in catalogs for that special hybrid or a species tulip that will bring smiles for years to come.

* Look for a few different tulips so they last throughout the bloom season. Tulips are either early season, mid-season or late season bloomers.

*Looking for an unusual tulip? Look for Tulipa acuminata, the fireflame tulip. The red streaked yellow petals roll up vertically into thin, irregular shapes that look like tongues of fire.


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