Last Fall I Planted Tulips

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Last fall I planted tulips.
I planted them with care.
Bulbs lay in earthen chambers
While ground above was bare.

What hopes I had for blossoms
While winter slowly crept.
What dreams of yellow radiance
While all in nature slept.

Spring is coming, green shoots lift.
I count up all their stems:
My storehouse of ivory
And alabaster gems.

Night came. The quiet clouds passed by.
I slept my dreamless sleep.
I heard no sound, I sensed
No trial. The dark was deep.

Yet, so near my drowsing form,
Softly, the creatures drew near.
They came to garden’s edge.
Leaf and bud trembled with fear.

Morning’s light revealed the crime.
No more hope of bright bloom.
Now, in a moment, the view
Turns from delight to gloom.

You could have been so pretty.
You could have been so fine.
To see you and greet you: these
Pleasures could have been mine

Oh, my little lost darlings,
I miss you, yes I do.
I hope next year brings you back;
I’ll take good care of you.

“Last Fall I Planted Tulips”, watercolour, pen & ink, 14-1/2″ x 16-1/2″


10 thoughts on “Last Fall I Planted Tulips

  1. My father brought tulip bulbs back from Holland. Just as the flowers were coming up the deer snipped them all as a yummy treat. He didn’t even get to see them open! Horrible deer!


    • Sometimes, I make myself think about deer as beautiful, graceful creatures whose habitat is increasingly disrupted by our subdivisions and roads. We have also destroyed their predators, which brings us to where we are today. Still, it is a huge frustration to the gardener and it’s hard to be philosophical about the loss of long-anticipated tulips (special ones at that). We seem to be hosts to a lot of rabbits this year, probably because we are reduced to one old cat. These rabbits are so fat and sassy looking! They bring a smile to my face even though they can be such nuisances.


  2. What a shame. But at least you got some fodder for a poem, a border and a post!
    How I wish I too had drawing and painting skills such as yours, Mrs Daffodil. Those Tulips look so fresh and strong. I hope you get to see them in your garden next year.


  3. Ah, the siren call of tulips — they are really quite tasty if you ask the deer and the rabbits. Also, moles and gophers love the bulbs. When I lived in California the only way I could have tulips was to plant them inside a buried cage of 1/2″ mesh steel wire. I also hired on a couple of cats to watch the above ground access. Around here the deer will brave just about anything in order to get the tasty gourmet treat that tulip buds seem to be.

    Good luck next year! I recommend an electric fence to keep the deer away.

    I like your painting, very evocative. But it really should have a gopher chewing up through the soil below those tulips…


    • You know, I’m not really sure whether there are gophers here. I’ve lived on Vancouver Island for 32 years and I’ve never had trouble with them, and I’ve never heard anyone else complaining. The squirrels dig up bulbs, but that’s not my problem (and I hope it stays that way). The creatures, whatever they may be, always eat the foliage of plants. A lot of it is deer, but this time I’m not so sure. The cats are a mixed blessing: they can really mess up a garden bed when they use it as their litter box. We should look into electric fencing, but we’ve got a fair amount of territory to cover.


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