Saturday, August 05, 2006

Tulips in Poland

Tulips are traditional heralds of spring, and seeing their blooms year after year is one of life's little pleasures. In America, I never saw tulips anywhere except blooming cheerfully in the garden.

One of the things I learned in my early years in Poland, is that tulips offer an unusual experience as cut flowers. Around mid-April, flower-venders offer bunches of tulips for sale. The buds are tightly closed, and the stems are not quite as long as the leaves. You take these cut, closed tulips and place them in water, and the buds open into full-blown tulips over the course of a few days. But that is not all! The stems of the tulips grow taller and taller, until the blooming flowers are well above the leaves.

It was astonishing to me, as I had never known before that they would do that. Since most city apartment-dwellers do not have yards and gardens, this is a wonderful way to bring the springtime garden into the house.

As I mentioned before, we moved into a house with a small yard just before our furlough year in the states. This is the first spring that we have been in our house, and I am delighted to find that there are many perenniels in the yard--and among them, there are many, many tulips. I'm going to let most of them bloom in the yard, but I couldn't resist cutting a few of the buds to bring indoors. Here's the progression over several days. Isn't it fun?


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