The Ivory Floradale tulips I planted in memory of my friend Amy are in full and absolutely splendiferous bloom this week. Those who read my 2009 and 2010 posts will remember that Amy once told me that she dreamed of drifts of white tulips throughout her garden, so that everyone considered them her signature flower. The past two years I planted the tulips in Amy's front bed where her husband and family could enjoy them. This year I opted to plant them in my own garden.
However, if you look more closely at the picture above, you'll notice something a little off with the blooms: pinkish-red streaks on the petals of some tulips (which is why I mentally subtitled this post "Beauty Tinged with Disappointment"). Not having grown these before, and having only seen them in bloom on visits to Amy's garden, I have no idea whether this is the usual bloom habit of this variety, or the tulips I received are not in fact Ivory Floradale. I tend to think the latter because knowing Amy, this is not at all what she envisioned.
Although the majority of these tulips are pure white, there's a fair number of them that are colored like those two in the picture above. The red streaks do seem to fade a bit as the tulip ages. In previous years, I purchased the bulbs at Houston's annual Plant and Bulb Mart: the tulip booth was always Amy's first stop at that event. I opted not to purchase my bulbs there last fall due to a nearly two hour wait time for checkout. By the time I got serious about purchasing them online, the only site with Ivory Floradale bulbs still available was Tulip World. I doubt I will purchase from them again and I do plan to e-mail them about my disappointment with the bulbs I received.
Being one who is alert to messages from the universe, however, I do feel like Amy is speaking to me through these flowers, reminding me gently that her signature blooms don't necessarily belong in my garden. I have a new plan for this fall, one which I think would please Amy and will bring beauty to a place that she held very dear. The good folks at Enchanted Forest have agreed to my request that I fund the purchase of 100 Ivory Floradale tulips to be planted in Amy's name and memory under the memorial bur oak her Garden Gang friends planted in 2008. This time next year the scene above will be enlivened by drifts of white tulips. I hope that visitors to the Forest will pause to enjoy their beauty and to acknowledge Amy's part in making the world a better place.