Back in November, Greg and I planted 40 tulip bulbs. The instructions on the back on the package promised that by April a batch of brilliant red flowers would bloom, delighting us and all our neighbors. I think the company even offered a money-back guarantee (if only I had saved the receipt). Well, we’ve had a sprinkling of ninety-degree days and have been regularly watering our flower bed for the past month. The tulip patch remains barren, not a trace of green.
I didn’t think much of it. At least not until I talked to my mom last weekend. Her tulips have sprung out of the ground, about two inches out. This is in northern Illinois, mind you, where it’s still snowing and the temperature is twenty degrees, which means there is almost no hope for my flowers.
In desperation, I started digging yesterday in the area where we planted the bulbs. I thought the leaves might be right below the surface, but they weren’t, and I dug another inch and another inch and another inch. The bulb I finally found had one tiny sprout coming out of it, certainly nothing that would produce a flower in the near future.
I come from a long line of farmers on my mom’s side. And my parents have always had a garden with all sorts of vegetables and flowers. Their flower beds tend to turn into little jungles, blooms climbing all over the place, arching over the wooden walls meant to contain them, so eager are they to grow. My brother worked as a gardener for several summers as a teenager. Am I to become the shame of my family? A brown thumb in a sea of green? Greg and I must pray that the national food supply chain never breaks down. If it does, we will be the first to starve.