Buffalo Garden

Stop the Car Tulips!

...and other Colorblends tulip collections.

Last Fall, I planted three different tulip collections from Colorblends Wholesale Flower BulbsStop the Car, Lava, and Rainbow Coalition. And here you can see the result.

As an art director, I liked the box. It was obvious when it arrived!
I had planned to plant them only in my hellstrip – the area between sidewalk and street.

Bulbs are great for this generally desolate garden area for two reasons. The first is that a bulb comes with its own store of nutrients and energy. It doesn’t require much from where its planted (a healthy bulb, grown in ideal conditions previously, anyway). And my hellstrip, though its been much improved with compost and mulch over the past few years, is still clay-y, and very compacted.

IMG_4710The second reason to plant by the street is that planting in front of the house allows us to enjoy them more, as we don’t spend time in the backyard in early spring. Side benefit, the neighborhood gets to enjoy them too.

I’d gotten some tulips from Colorblends. few years ago, just one order of a tulip blend. They’re still popping up, but nothing like they did their first year.

Here are the blends I ordered:

IMG_4721Lava: A radiant fiery red interplanted with a rich red-yellow. The warm color of the solid red is repeated in the two-toned variety, giving an overall glowing effect. Seen from far or near, these tulips create a sensation. Introduced 1998

Rainbow Coalition: Here is one of those color arrangements only tulips can bring. Orange opens first, then red joins in, and purple closes ranks. In the end, the three bloom together for as long as a fortnight. A delicious three-act show! Introduced 1997

Stop the Car: Flamboyant apricot-orange tulips, touched with yellow at the base, open first. Satiny plum-purple blooms soon join in, creating a remarkable blend that will slow them down. Introduced 1996

I thought for the strip next to the street, the Stop the Car collection was a natural!

IMG_4718I love that blends of flowers can be ordered

It’s just a tad less work that someone else has thought about what looks good together. For me it would be guesswork. I’m in the graphics/design. printing/publishing world and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that catalog or web presentation of color is never be 100% accurate (no matter how diligent the photographer/designer/printer is). The difference between “flamboyant apricot-orange” and “sunset shades” can be very similar, or very different. That someone else has put some brain power to it benefits me.

Another benefit of ordering a couple different blends is that I ordered an early, mid season, and late sets of bulbs so the overall bloom time was much longer than ordering just one variety.

If I had one complaint it would be that the name of the two-to-three bulbs that make up each blend are not listed separately by cultivar. Someone asked me what tulips they were specifically, and I could not answer.

A good number of these will come back next year, though they may not be as prolific and colorful. But I’ll add even more to them again. If you put yourself in the mindset that tulips are annuals, that have to be planted every year, you’ll be much happier with the results.

I also want to try what GardenRant.com writer Elizabeth Licata has promoted for years – planting tulips in containers and keeping them in a cold, protected spot through wintertime.

They’ve peaked this week. It’s time for them to slowly fade, just as everything else in the hellstrip is starting to wake up. I won’t dig up the bulbs (too much work, too much digging around growing plants!). We’ll see how many come up next year.

First up, orange.


Morning light is the best light.


I had to wait until Thursdays and Fridays to get photos without cars on this side of the street – alternate side of the street parking!


Plenty of neighbors and spring walkers stopped to “smell the flowers.” And no, they don’t smell.



Impromptu photo shoots too.


I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

2 comments on “Stop the Car Tulips!

  1. I’ve done the same thing along the road with Colorblends’ Roadside Yellow Daffodils. It’s all one daffodil, and I don’t know the variety, but they go from strength to strength. With the neighbor’s permission, I planted my surplus on their side of the road. I planted their French Blend tulip mix one year (it was a goodie from Fling) but as you mentioned, it only looked good the first year. I might try tulips again, but penny pincher that I am, I don’t care for annuals much, whether they’re tulips or marigolds.


  2. My mum would the orange tulips and I cannot wait to see Spring again in 2020!!


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