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Tulipa sylvestris


It’s probably been more than four years since a wild shade-loving tulip made its surprising appearance in a shady, grassy bed in my garden. Its color looked like the “before” shot in a commercial for women with faded blond hair. After a close examination on my knees, I determined it was actually a tulip. I know how long ago it was because my knees no longer permit close examinations.

Its inner workings looked like a tulip, so I cut off the flower with two thin attached leaves, carried it to my bulb class at the Chicago Botanic Garden and gave it to my class assistant. He returned the next week with an ID –Tulipa sylvestris, tulip of the woods. I was so excited I could have kissed him, but he escaped.

Tulip of the woods doesn’t seem to mind woodland shade, but is doing better under a redbud, which affords more light. In the winter of 2014, the bulbs showed up in my rose garden, where the soil is a little richer. The bulb spreads by seed and stolons and is native to the Mediterranean region and Central Asia. It has naturalized in central and northern Europe.

Adele Kleine

Photo courtesy of ibub.org

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questions

I have a nicely sheltered, rounded 7-foot tall Japanese red maple on the southeast corner of my backyard. Half of the tree has lost its leaves, the formerly red bark is turning gray, and a good-sized square of bark has been stripped off on the side that faces the yard. I sprayed the exposed bark with black pruning spray to close any entry for insects. I have not cut off any of the branches.

Does the winter have any effect on the tree? Should I look for some insect infestation? What should I do now?

How can I get rid of voles? I think they are doing a lot of damage to my bulbs.

I brought my mandevilla plant into the house to overwinter. How best can I keep it? Will it flower? Can I root pieces of it?

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