Spring Miscellany: Tulips, Orioles, Lenten Roses, and Daffodils

This seems like a good time for a post devoted to miscellaneous development in the garden.


Have you been wondering about my container Tulips but you’ve been too polite to ask? Well, here they are. Yes, out of the 200+ Tulip bulbs planted in 12 containers, this one pot full of ‘Princess Irene’ is all I’ve got.

I surely gambled when I stored all the containers in the garage without insulation. When the temperature plunged to -22 Fahrenheit, it was as if I had thrown snake eyes. I’ll have to think about whether I want to change my approach to Tulips, but first I have to go through the grieving process.

There’s just one boss of the grape jelly around here, and you’re looking at him. 

On a more positive note, the Baltimore Orioles have arrived from their winter homes in Central America. I had their favorite feeder food, grape jelly, ready for them.

Not very chivalrous – chasing a female Oriole away from the feeder.

There have also been plenty of Rose-Breated Grosbeaks, but we don’t have pictures yet. No sign of hummingbirds, though.


The more the Lenten Roses (Helleborus orientalis) fill in, the more I like them.  This year they started blooming around the middle of Lent, and are just now finishing up.



Our Lenten Roses are not any kind of fancy variety – the plain ones are expensive enough. Why are they so expensive?


Bulb mixes don’t give you those masses uniform blooms that can be so dramatic, but they can provide a much longer period of flowering. The free Colorblends Daffodil mixes that I got at the Garden Bloggers’ Fling are still providing plenty of color in the Parkway Bed.

Here’s a random sample of what’s blooming now.




It looks like these two are kissing. I’m not crazy about double Daffodils generally, but this yellow one makes me think of Peonies.




Much more is happening in the garden, but that’s all for now.

45 Comments on “Spring Miscellany: Tulips, Orioles, Lenten Roses, and Daffodils”

  1. Losing all of those tulips is a sad thing. Darn the luck. I hope you figure out how to have your tulip bonanza for next spring. Baltimore Orioles are few and far between in my neighborhood. People keep cutting down their big trees. This makes me grieve. We do have our annual pair of Catbirds that like jelly. They are getting blackberry jelly this year. They like it. It is fun watching the garden awaken in the spring. I too wonder why hellebores are so darned expensive. I have been having to divide and move some out of my flower beds this spring. They are very prolific.

    • Mature shade trees are such a treasure – so foolish to cut them down. A bunch of birds eventually realize that they like jelly. Catbirds for sure – but also Robins and Woodpeckers. My Hellebores are not yet big enough to divide, but when they are I will be happy to share with the neighbors.

  2. How heartbreaking about those tulips! The weather was brutal for you this winter. Is it too warm for them in your basement—or down cellar, as we would say in Maine? But the boss of the grape jelly made me smile. Also, the daffodils, especially the two that are kissing.

  3. The double yellow daffodil’s my favorite. I had no idea that birds will eat jelly. I suppose that’s because all of the orioles and such just pass through here, and leave the insect and seed eaters. My mockingbirds do enjoy raisins, though, and they maraude through friends’ fig trees, so we clearly have some fruit eaters.

  4. A Baltimore oriole! Envious. Around here, I often think I spot one, but then, as a local birder friend says sadly, “It’s always an orchard oriole.”

    i think hybrid hellebores are as expensive as they are because it takes quite a few seasons for seedlings to get big enough to bloom. The non-named ones are mostly grown from seed rather than division. Digging and dividing blooming-size hellebores is not for the faint of heart — very like working with peonies.

  5. Oh, that ‘s so sad about your tulips. Although, now you have 11 containers that are clean slates to begin again!
    I don’t care for Lenten roses, but I saw some on Craigslist, so maybe you could look at your local listing. Of course, they called them “lentil” roses, so check for odd spellings!
    All my iris are from CL. And my dogs!

  6. Yikes! I feel your pain – I mourned the loss of some of my tulips when they stopped blooming after a couple of years, can’t even imagine how sad I would have been if they didn’t give me even one year of bloom. I did the same thing with my figs last year – everything was so delayed last fall & life was just hectic overall so I just couldn’t be bothered to lug them into the cold cellar like I normally do. Left them in the garage with no insulation and now I’m waiting to see if they followed the same path as your tulips.

  7. That’s too bad about the tulips. I was looking forward to seeing suncatcher again.
    I think hellebores are so expensive because few people buy them, and that’s because few people know how beautiful they are. In all my time as a gardener not a single client grew them.
    You might try sinking your pots of tulips in the ground or a bed of mulch and then mulching over them.

  8. So sorry to hear about your tulips… I always look forward to seeing your spring bulbs, especially the tulips. 🙁… however the rest of the garden is looking wonderful. The birds are very pretty… (& we recognise a bossy bird when we see one) Paul said he only knew Baltimore Orioles as a baseball team..

  9. Darn: That’s awful about the Tulips! This winter caught all of us in the Midwest off guard. Even though the extreme cold wasn’t an extended period, just a few nights that cold can do a lot of damage–especially without snow cover. We had quite a bit of snow, but I still lost a few newer plants. It was just too cold. I agree: Those Daffodil mixes from Colorblends were such a wonderful gift!

  10. Orioles are such beauties. I’m about to check out how to set the jelly up to attract them here as well!
    Sorry about the tulips. Sometimes a change isn’t the worst thing. I’ve been rushing to the garden center on the first not-freezing Saturday of late winter and buying pansies. They’re not tulips, but they’re not all that shabby.

  11. I’ve given up growing tulips in pots, Jason; the only ones that have returned are planted in large deep planters with good drainage, one less container to move in spring when I’m too busy anyway. The good thing about Lenten roses is that they will grow bigger every year, will seed around if you let them, and brighten every spring – love, love, love them!

  12. I am so sorry about your tulips. Lots of work and money, but every gardening effort has a lesson to be learned. I bought my first Lenten Rose this year. Love them. You mentioned, expensive, and I want to say that I went to our local greenhouse yesterday and about fell over looking at the prices. A small pot of Proven Winners annuals was $8.95. I think I’ll be doing more with perennials in some of the containers and adding spots of color this year. I also wanted a Columbine, and it was $39.95. You guessed it, I came home without the Columbine but called up a gardening friend who is going to give me a couple of small plants.

  13. Lenten rose are expensive because they are so much work to grow in such a manner that they are saleable. Out of each crop, only about half of ours would be saleable in a season. The other half needed to wait for the following season, and by that time, they needed to be stuffed (repotted). Compared to others, ours were rather pathetic looking (and less expensive). I am sure that other growers put more effort into theirs. I really did not like to grow them.

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