Hooray for Volunteers!

Apr 16, 2012 | 3 comments

     Much to my distress, tulips are not among the spring flowers we can plan on in our garden.  Even more than roses, tulips are deer-candy-to-the-max and, knowing that, we have left it to other, braver folks to plant them.
     Jeanne at the Oysterville Store always has a glorious display.  I asked her one year what her secret was and I think her answer was simply “John” (her husband.)  Whoever or whatever she credited with her annual tulip display wasn’t on the list of our garden possibilities.
     So it is with great pleasure that I am able to say, “This year we have a tulip!”  It’s in the midst a Shasta daisy bed and snuggled up to a California poppy that was also a volunteer.  For whatever reasons, the deer haven’t bothered it and it seems to be thriving.
      It does pique my curiosity, though.  How does a tulip volunteer?  Poppies I can understand, or I think I can.  For them, the answer is birds or wind or hitch-hiking on garden gloves.  Poppy seeds are tiny, made for traveling.  But tulip bulbs?
     I haven’t really tried to find out how volunteer tulips happen.  I am choosing just to be grateful.  It reminds me of my teaching days.  Classroom volunteers (of the human variety) were to be treasured, not questioned.  Especially if they were the kind of volunteers that put a bright spot in your day – like our tulip!
     It’s a little hard not to be greedy and overbearing about volunteers.  I’d really like this bright red bit of tulip color in a different spot, but I know it’s risky business to be too demanding.  I’m clapping and cheering for that lone tulip no matter what.  Maybe the word will spread and next year a few more tulip volunteers will find this garden an inviting place to be.
     And maybe the deer people will continue to be otherwise occupied.


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    This year we had a lone daffodil that migrated from the bed along the side of our West walkway to the bed between the two walkways that lead to our front door. My theory is that when Dave weeded in the fall a bulb must have gotten tossed behind him, landing in the other bed. It is so perfectly placed at the convergence of the walkways, this one lone daffodil. Could your tulip have migrated the way I think our daffodil did?

    • Kathleen Shaw

      I’ve got bulbs that migrate a few inches all the time. They all seem to be near mole tunnels. I think they get moved around all the time. I also have problems with deer people and tulips, but this year I have one lone one coming up, and I’ve been spraying it regularly with deer repellent. Can’t wait to see what color it is, as I planted it years ago but it always gets nipped before I can get that darn pepper spray on it. Tulip surprise–how fun!

  2. Anne Kepner

    You brought a smile to my face today. I am sorry that we will not be able to attend the house concert on the 29th. We seem to be missing most of them this year. Hopefully, we are getting back to Oysterville more and more now.


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