Garden Photo of the Day

The Tulip Lady

Thousands of bulbs for a great spring display

Today Michele Krause is sharing her garden with us.

I live in Lake Country area, in Delafield, Wisconsin. My home was built at the turn of the century. Up until 1987, when I purchased this home, Delafield was a town with a population of about 3,000. My yard was overgrown with weeds because it was a foreclosure. I had to ask the bank to have the weeds cut down so we could get the moving truck in. I didn’t even own a lawnmower at the time.

My yard is full of black walnut trees (Juglans nigra, Zones 4–9), some that are a century old! Through trail and error over the years, I found that only certain plants grow well around black walnut trees. I have almost one acre of land, so I had to design my garden in sections or rooms, and spread it out over time.

I was a Realtor and mortgage lender for most of my career, which left little time for gardening. Now I have a job that allows me more time to dream up new projects and begin to dig in. I love to shop in garden centers, salvage stores, and resale stores for unique items for inspiration. My brother and sister joke about my shopping habits. My garage and potting shed are full of treasures. I am single, so I also had to haul all the soil, stones, and pavers into the yard by myself.

I wanted to add color and interest for several months. I started out with spring bulbs, some years planting as many as 7,000! I purchased them at local stores late in the fall when they were on sale. People around town call me the Tulip Lady! I work at a local diner now, and many customers are so excited when they find out I’m the lady who owns that blue house on Main Street with all the flowers. Sometimes a neighbor will drop off a note with a picture they took. Some have painted pictures of my flowers, some have used pictures as screen savers on their phones or computers because the images cheer them up.

I have also found a love for daylilies and have surrounded my flower beds in the back gardens with them in the last few years. My most recent projects are a secret garden for my two grandsons, with wood chip paths, and old iron bed frames that lead to a playhouse and tire swings. My grandson Nicholas loves blue, so many of the flowers in that garden are blue, white, and yellow.

I love gardening, and I love to have a different-style garden for my neighbors to enjoy. Some may think I am a little crazy, but it is worth all the sore joints and cold wet days preparing the gardens when I hear from a neighbor that they drive by just because it cheers them up so much!

The front yard in early spring, with the bloom just beginning.

The same view, later in the growing season, full of flowers and foliage in shades of white and purple.

Thousands of spring bulbs put on an unforgettable display.

daffodilsA line of daffodils in full flower.

garden accentsOld iron bed frames make an unusual accent along a path to the secret garden for the grandsons.

tulip gardenNo wonder the people in town call Michele the Tulip Lady!


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View Comments


  1. Maggieat11 03/30/2020

    Oh my!! What a huge and loving project! Congratulations on your success in turning your home and yard into a traffic-stopper! I'd love to see more photos. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Shelly2020 03/31/2020

      I will be happy to add more pictures as the mini seasons in my garden unravel this spring. Thank you for the wonderful comments, You really added cheer to my day. It's very hard to watch the news lately, so talking with fellow gardeners is such a pleasure during this time.

  2. sandyprowse 03/30/2020

    Just totally inspirational! I love your spunk. I would also go out of my way to pass such a house. Bravo to you I say, keep up the good work!

    1. Shelly2020 03/31/2020

      Thank you so much. It's 42 and cloudy her in Wisconsin. Just waiting for a nice 50° and Sunny day. Such wonderful comments from strangers really brighten my day! Been itching to get out there and finish raking the leaves from my Catalpa Tree. I live on Main street, so I didn't have any HOA rules to abide by. And my neighbors just chuckle and shake thier heads when I start unloading my car with more plants!

  3. pam_clemmons 03/30/2020

    I don’t comment often, but this one is a sweet and joyful story. Thank you for sharing your amazing And beautiful flower garden! Was such a delightful read. 😊

    1. Shelly2020 03/31/2020

      You are welcome. My motto is "You can never have enough whinsey in your life!"

  4. garden1953 03/30/2020

    Cheers to you! Your yard is gorgeous and I'm sure pure joy to all those that pass by. Would love to see your daylily's in bloom sometime too. Thanks for sharing!

  5. User avater
    user-7007816 03/30/2020

    Lots of fun. There is definitely more than one way to garden. Thanks for sharing.

  6. mainer59 03/30/2020

    The colorful flowers are great but it is the white metal frames that unite the area. I know some are bed headboards. Can you tell us about the gazebo? Did you make it from reused parts or did it come already made (and perhaps just needed assembly?).

    1. Shelly2020 03/31/2020

      The gazebo was purchased from a neighboring business, a soap shop, they were retiring. I had admired it for 15 years. One day I stopped and asked what they might do with the Gazebo and urns when they sell. Well, we made a deal, right on the spot. It is 6 sided, walls and roof, come apart, and can be transported very easily in and large SUV. They originally purchased it from a garden supply wholesaler. Your local garden shop might help you located one. I think I paid $500. But they are about $1200, new. Who doesn't like or want the rusty discount?

  7. Musette1 03/30/2020

    this is a marvelous garden! I would walk/drive by your house every day!!!

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/30/2020

    Your thousands of bulbs make me so envious. Spring bulbs have to be my very fave.

  9. alicefleurkens 03/30/2020

    Dear Michelle
    You make the world a better place. What a beautiful yard.

  10. wittyone 03/30/2020

    How lucky you are to live in a small Wisconsin town. I always hoped we would retire to a place like this. Your gorgeous house makes a perfect backdrop for all your flowers. It's like something out of a fairy tale. I can see why hometown folks drive by for a look and those who can't use it as a screen saver!

  11. cheryl_c 03/30/2020

    So much fun! I'll bet children can't wait to go by your house to see what is new. Thank you so much for sharing your story along with the pictures. You truly have inspired us on a morning when we all needed some bright, happy pictures.

  12. janeeliz 03/30/2020

    Thank you for sharing your delightful garden with not only your town but on the Internet! It is joyful and unique...just what we need at this moment. PLEASE send pictures of your grandson's area...the path to it looks so inviting can't leave us just standing there! Your use of the bed frames is charming.

  13. sheila_schultz 03/30/2020

    Michelle, your beautiful home and gardens are truly magical. I realized I was grinning from ear to ear this morning while looking at the photos of your glorious blooms. Thank you for such a lovely gift of hope and beauty this Monday morning. Your neighbors are very lucky to be able to gaze upon your yard in real life!

  14. bdowen 03/30/2020

    This is such a lovely garden and setting for your fairy tale house - clearly a magical place that everyone would want to include on their morning walk. I agree- I'd love to see more, especially photos of the secret area for your grandsons. They are lucky to have the Tulip Lady for a grandmother.

  15. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/30/2020

    You are obviously a joyful and optimistic person and your colorful blooms are a wonderful reflection of your personality and attitude. Your pictures and commentary are the figurative spoonfuls of sugar that makes the medicine (concerning news of the day) go down. Thank you so much for being true to yourself and being "the tulip lady in the blue house."

  16. btucker9675 03/30/2020

    You must be a joy-filled person and it just spills over into your gardens! Love, love, love the use of the old bed head/foot boards as path "fencing"! Magical...

  17. calliopegirl 03/30/2020

    I am retired and do all the yardwork myself, so I know just how hard you work. Your house color is as inspirational as your flowers. Using bedframes for fencing is absolutely brilliant!

  18. User avater
    simplesue 03/31/2020

    I love what you've done with your house and garden- just so cool- love!

  19. Pollen 03/31/2020

    An absolute delight to ring all of our bells! Please post photos again when the Daylilies are in bloom. There is a local club near you and they usually have sales for the club treasury, see for info. I've got a couple of hundred too! You da tulip lady friend you da tulip lady. Beekeeping is my other hobby (4 tons annually in Triad & Triangle of NC)

  20. fromvirginia 04/01/2020

    Oh my..simply uplifting. Congratulations on such a fun garden. Has inspired me to do better this year with bulbs as I attempt to start a new garden after 19 years in a previous garden that I poured my heart into.

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