This Month in the Wonder Garden
March is a bit of a treasure hunt in the WG and well worth the sleuthing since over the last few years we’ve tucked in plenty of tiny jewels.
Among our favorite March-blooming plants is a truly ancient tulip from the mountains of Northwest Iran: Tulipa humilis ‘Alba Coerulea Oculata’. If you’ve had any Latin you’ll immediately find a few hints: white, blue, eye!
This white T. humilis is a species tulip, meaning it has not been tinkered with by botanists or breeders and appears the same in the garden as it does in the wild. We much prefer species tulips to their teetering, overdressed siblings who show off for a season or two all big and glossy and then just fade away.
Instead, the species tulips are often brilliant little creatures, some just inches high, likely to return and multiply each spring if you can give them what they love: full sun and fast drainage. To warm them up and keep them from rotting, we’ve made sure to mulch them with gravel, which is why they’re in the same bed as our manzanitas: same requirements.
You’ll find our colorful little flock of white T. humilis sunbathing in the rocks at the west end of the manzanitas along Laneda Ave. An important hint for treasure hunters: the bulbs only open on sunny days!