plants. gardens. friends.

digthedirt is about gardening, outdoor living and loving our planet!

learn more »

When Buying Too Many Bulbs Creates a New Landscape Project

by LilyLover

Bistro Garden View 1
« 1 of 3 »

There are times in our lives when little mistakes and be turned into something beautiful.  Just before Christmas I wasn't feeling well, which meant I was more likely to scour the Internet to look at online flower catalogs:  they are such beautiful yet financially dangerous things to a gardening enthusiast like myself.

In this specific instance, I had already been pondering planting tulip bulbs.  I visited an online store that I learned about in a gardening enthusiast magazine and found a "sale" of 50 tulip bulbs for $50 dollars.  Normally I would have intenally debated which color(s) I should select and whether or not the price of each bulb would be justified by the emotional fulfillment of the flower...because I'm rather analytical even when it comes to selecting flowers.  But IT WAS A SALE!  One dollar per bulb of a variety of colors, sizes and seasonality (early, mid, late) looked great to me on that day.  So, I asked my hubby if he minded if I purchased the bulbs "on sale," and he gave me the go-ahead.

The next day I received a shipping confirmation for the 50 tulips I had though I ordered.   Immediately, I started giggling...and it developed into a good, hearty laugh.  I proceeded to find the right way to tell my husband about information in the confirmation notice in my Email box. 

That night, I said, "Honey, I have something funny to share with you."  Giggles escaped me as I tried hard to complete a coherent sentence:  "I thought I was ordering 50 tulip bulbs for $50; but, today I received the confirmation for 500 of them."
"500 tulips!" my dear husband exclaimed, causing me to laugh even louder.  "Where I we going to put all of them?", he asked with a smile on his face.  I offered for him to sacrifice his small patch of 12-ft x 16ft of lawn in our back yard, posturing it with " you won't have to mow it anymore."  He didn't buy that one.  Ha!  Ha!  Ha!  He also asked if I could give them away; and I thought that for ten cents per bulb I could--but I didn't want to do it.

Then, it occurred to me--we have a 70-ft by 5-ft wide (later discovered to by 4' wide)dog run that we were getting ready to fill with pea gravel; and given its location and how the sun hits is in spring and during our intensely hot summers, it would offer the perfect amount of sunshine and shade for the tulip bulbs.  Would you believe that when I offered this as an option he told me to design it and he'd make it happen?  It is with the aforementioned in mind that I designed a curved walkway leading to a 4-ft x 8-ft pad follewed by another curving walkway.  The second walkway would end in a scrolled gate with a matching panel on each side of it and a doggie play zone behind them.  The concrete pad would have a bistro set and face a tall fountain (73" tall x 48" wide X 14" depth) that read "Mon Petite Jardin."

My dear husband immediately called our landscaper (who came over within a couple of hours) and we shared our 500-tulip bulb order dilemna with him...because he needed to finish our project in less than a week (between Christmas and New Years Eve) so that I could promptly plant the bulbs.  He did his best and even brought in some high quality topsoil.  The irrigation and driains were in place first and then the rest of it came together beautifully.

We planted all 500 bulbs with plenty of room to spare for six jasmine plants (two each of pink, arabian and pinwheel/angelwing), plus a few pink and yellow angiozanthos/kangaroo paws, several shasta daisies (in light pink, dark pink, and white), two large white calla lily plants, 13 rubylite pink ice calla lily rhizomes, several each of tuberose and pink snapdragon plants, quite a few African corn lily bulbs, and some Stargazer lily bulbs.  Yes, this would be the one place where I would have pink and white flowers in addition to a variety of tulips--truly a unique color scheme and special area of my/our property.  This has definitely become an instance when buying too many bulbs creates a new landscape project--something that is a symbol of my husband's fogiveness, undying, unconditional love for me, and a special place for our family and friends to enjoy for many years to come.


Bulbs, landscape, plants, project, bistro, fountain


What a great story, to turn a mistake into a great thing. Makes one look around and see if there is a place like that at your own place.
Jay commented on 08/08/11
Love the story! What a great ending to a crazy beginning! I look forward to seeing more photos.
gardengirl commented on 01/26/10
Thank you, GardenGirl...I can hardly wait for the tulips to start emerging from the topsoil, so I purchased some already blooming red tulips to "hold me over." I wound up cutting them and placing them in a vase with some white callas to put in my husband's office. Goodness knows he deserves them.
LilyLover replied: on 02/02/10
that is hilarious-- sounds like you have a very good man on your hands if he understands the power of the bulb! I can't wait to see them all come up b/c like the chief said, we all have that strange little space on our property that could turn into something really special with a little bit of effort!
FigTree commented on 01/26/10
Hi FigTree--You put a big smile on my face. Yep--my hubby definitely understands the power of the bulb, but I guess I also learned the power of his small lawn during this fun situation. Ha! ha! ha!
LilyLover replied: on 02/02/10
Beautiful! I love it! I was laughing with you as I read your story!! And what a sweet husband! Bravo!!!!
Lily commented on 01/26/10
What an awesome story!! Really, that is something I would do for sure! And, the space looks great! Please take some more photos, as I think this is really a great story for people to see... Everyone has that narrow space somewhere bordering their house; and to turn it into such a special place is very cool indeed!
chief cultivator commented on 01/26/10
Thank you, Chief. It really is fun to see people's reactions when they enter our backyard...because they never, ever, suspect that the dog run is going to be more than an area for storage or dogs. It is also a perfect space for many reasons. Its size creates of feeling of initimacy; it gets first sun, making it the morning's warmest outdoor space on our property in winter....perfect for coffee and a newspaper w/my hubby. When mid-to-late-Spring rolls around, the sun in our area can be rather parching (?), so the tulips will get perhaps four hours of sunlight, then an hour of indirect sunlight at the most. So, right now I am crossing my fingers and hoping that I chose just the right location in our yard for all of these bulbs. I look forward to posting pictures as the garden progresses.
LilyLover replied: on 02/02/10