Exotics

In my garden the last of the tulips have gone. As in previous years, I tried to catch the moment just before they drop their petals – the moment when their shape and texture is at its most interesting.

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I treat tulips as exotics – which they are, really. I plant them in containers in october to enjoy them in april and may. Then I put the containers a dry and out-of-the-way spot so the tulip leaves can feed the bulbs then fade away. When stems and leaves have gone completely dry I disconnect them from the bulb and throw them away.  Then I lift the bulbs , peel them, separate the  bulblets from the bulbs and hang them in union nets from a beam in my studio. Come october I then plant them again.

I used to  have quite a tulip collection until two years ago, the year I killed the bulbs by giving them a heat treatment in the oven. The idea was to simulate summer heat in the mountains – 3 days of over 30 degrees, which stimulates flower-forming . I must have overheated the oven for each and every bulb I treated got mouldy afterwards. Trust me not to try the treatment out on a small subselection  but to put my whole collectin in the oven all at once …..

So no more heat treatment, and I’m building up a new collection.

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