Garden Photo of the Day

Tulip Time Chez Helene

May 14, 2013 - Looking toward the deck. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Hélène Brûle-Besner

Today’s photos are from Hélène Brûle-Besner in Hamilton, Ontario. We visited Hélène’s garden once before (refresh your memory HERE), and today she’s back with tulip time!

May 9, 2013 – Bleeding heart and tulips by the birch trees. 

She says, “I love tulips! I love that they cheerfully shout out: Winter is done! For the last 2 years, in the fall, I have planted over 300 of them so that there would be tulips everywhere in my garden come spring.

May 14, 2013 – Full view from the deck. 

“Here is what spring looked like in my garden last year…I’m still waiting for signs of it in the garden this year. Happily, with the cooler spring last year, I was able to enjoy them well into May. The bleeding heart was also blooming cheerfully right along with my tulips.

May 15, 2013 – Shade garden by the birch trees. 

“The garden was started 4 years ago and the hardscaping was pretty much completed in 2013. Redoing the shed is on this year’s to do list (the roof leaks horribly) and I would also like an arbour and swing. I love spring in my garden and can’t wait for it to burst forth this year!”

May 15, 2013 – ‘Horizon’ double peony tulips (red and white) in the shade garden. 

Me, too, Hélène! Your gorgeous tulips are motivating me to plant more this year. So far in my garden I only have about 1 inch of crocus growth poking out between the patches of lingering ice… Soon!! Thanks for sharing with us again.

May 19, 2013 – Orange ‘Angelique’ double peony tulips. 

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May 20, 2013 – Returning parrot tulips. They darken as they age. The delphiniums do not bloom in May here, this one just came home from the store! 
May 21, 2013 – Celtic cross by my neighbour’s garage. 
May 21, 2013 – Corner in shade garden. ‘Heartthrob’ hardy violet has those lovely heart –shaped deep burgundy and green leaves with ‘Midnight Rose’ heuchera tucked in beside. 
May 21, 2013 – View of my potager area. The beds formed a semi-circle and contained lettuce, swiss chard, kale, spinach, marigolds, and my herbs. The edges were waiting for the nasturstiums to sprout.  
May 22, 2013 – Glorious bleeding heart and tulips by my birch trees. 
February 8, 2013 – We actually had some snow that winter but nothing like this year! 

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  1. flowerladydi 03/25/2014

    What fun your garden is! And,,,, no lawn to mow! The tulips are just great!,,,, and with a winter like we have all had,,, I am sure you ( as are we! ) looking forward to seeing your cheery tulips even that much more!!! Love those orange angelique and pink parrot tulips!,,, and the bleeding heart is great! They so remind me of childhood,,, I think everyones Grandma had them!
    But,,, does all that foliage frustrate you when they are finished?,,, or do you have perennials ( or annuals ) that come come up to help camouflage it all?
    Good luck with your shed,,and enjoy your great yard and vegetable planting as well! Thanks for sharing,,,, it gives me encouragement for spring here too!!!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/25/2014

    My, oh, my, such beautiful varieties of tulips. It really is amazing how exquisite they are....sigh... especially in the double peony form. The color of your porch steps makes such a perfect backdrop for the gorgeous blend of pinks to contrast against.
    I think there should be a repeat of this sharing in the fall so I am inspired to get my lazy duff and PLANT MOUE TULIPS! They are so worth the effort.

  3. wGardens 03/25/2014

    Your lovely tulips are certainly a VERY welcome sight this morning on yet another 5 degree morning! Do you replant every year? I especially love the bleeding heart amongst the pink tulips... a delightful pairing! Best wishes for the upcoming season!

  4. MmeBez 03/25/2014

    flowerladydi - My garden is quite small, so yes, every bed has perennials, shrubs, herbs and annuals along with the tulips. Once the roses are flowering in June, you don't see the tulip leaves finishing off...
    meander1 - I usually purchase the bulbs when they go on sale in October...that way I can have more :) and yes it IS totally worth it!

  5. MmeBez 03/25/2014

    wGardens - The bleeding heart picture was a happy surprise :D However, that bed was generally a pink blend - yes I sort of colour coordinate because the garden is small. I also leave the tulips in place so as not to disturb the perennials and just fill holes, if they don't come back. This is why I am looking at my tulip pictures come fall which then encourages me to get planting more's a happy cycle for me.

  6. greengenes 03/25/2014

    Wow! Love all the spring color, Helene! Thanks for sharing these with us! What a beautiful transformation, too! I looked at the pics from last time. The blue color is to die for! You and your friends did a wonderful job laying all the brick and setting up the beds. Where iam I have to plant my tulips in pots because the rabbits always get them. This last year all my tulips got some sort of blight and they all died. So this is so refreshing! Thanks again!

  7. WAgardener48 03/25/2014

    Your garden is small space gardening at its very best. It is cheerful and personality filled. The tulips are beautiful. Such a happy space to live in especially after the stark white of winter. Thanks for adding a lot of color to my morning.

  8. tractor1 03/25/2014

    I love tulips, unfortunately for me deer love them too, so I have only a few inside fenced areas... mostly I plant lots of daffodils of which there are many kinds... the job is practically effortless as I use a 2" diameter bulb auger with a 1/2" electric drill... I use a corded drill with heavy duty extention cords, I don't like cordless tools, they don't have the oomph at low speed for tough jobs like drilling an auger into the earth. I like those gorgeous double peony tulips a lot, at first I thought they were yellow roses. I also like that you found space for herbs and vegetables... I bought about 2 dozen packets of seeds yesterday and among others this will be the year of swiss chard and kale.
    Thank you, Hélène.

  9. bee1nine 03/25/2014

    Hi Helene, It's nice to see a small area garden for a change! Making all your space count. Easy access and within
    bounds. So lovely to view these happy party colors of tulips
    today! Some even look like roses as they unfurl their glory.
    Especially the Orange 'Angelique' and your parrot tulips.

    Just beautiful!! + Happy Spring to come!!!

  10. GrannyMay 03/25/2014

    Thank you Hélène for the bouquet of lovely tulips this morning! Such a hopeful reminder for those who are still waiting for the smallest glimmer of spring - it will come!

  11. user-7006902 03/25/2014

    LOVE those peony tulips! So beautiful! I don't plant tulips anymore - I have rabbits and they would be eaten, like my poor crocus. I do have luck with some species tulips the rabbits and other critters leave alone - my favorite is the woodland tulip, Tulipa Sylvestris. Oh, I cannot wait to see spring! It is snowing here - again. This brightened my day, thank you.

  12. sheila_schultz 03/25/2014

    Spring is definitely here... if only on GPOD for many. Nothing gives more hope that our gardens are waking up than the beauty of the bulbs that were planted in the fall. I really hate planting bulbs, but I really love looking at my tulips in the Spring. Your photos are wonderful!

  13. GrannyCC 03/25/2014

    Love the tulips and all the beautiful colours. What an inspiration to plant more. Mine seem to disappear over time so I guess I should plant more each year. If they don't disappear I tend to dig them up because I have forgotten where they are!

  14. grannieannie1 03/25/2014

    There is nothing like tulips greeting us in the spring with fresh green leaves and yours are beautiful. And the cozy sitting area; I can just see you having tea (you do take a rest there, correct?) and contentedly watching more flowers pop up.

  15. Meelianthus 03/25/2014

    Hello Helene ~ I love the view from your deck, you have created your own little sanctuary and it is so stunning. I know it must bring you such joy wandering through each area. You have made the garden look so much bigger than I think it actually is. That is always an amazing feat, proof that alot can be done even in a small space. Your hard work has paid off in all of that beauty. Thanks for sharing all.

  16. tractor1 03/25/2014

    Sheila_Schultz: why do you really hate planting bulbs?

    Nothing is easier to plant than bulbs, no huge hole to dig, no tiny seeds to manipulate (I really hate planting tiny seeds even with seed planters), Sheila you need to read my previous post for supper easy bulb planting. The big box hardware stores sell bulb planting augers, or go to

  17. wildthyme 03/25/2014

    Beautiful tulips! Ours are just peeking their little heads above the mulch. You've inspired me not to let their ephemeral beauty fade away . . . I am going to start documenting their arrival!

  18. wildthyme 03/25/2014

    Tractor1, I echo your recommendation for a bulb auger. What an advantage over hand-planting! We've used an auger to plant over 1000 bulbs here. We do use Ridgid 1/2" 18 volt cordless hammer drill, which is plenty powerful enough to manage the job. You have to be careful of the torque, though, or you can end up with a broken wrist. Using the auxiliary handle that comes with it helps to keep a good grip on it. The other helpful hint is to square off the part of the auger that fits into the drill so it has flat sides that the drill can really bite into.

  19. MmeBez 03/25/2014

    Merci beaucoup! – Thank You all!
    It is my pleasure to share my tulips with you.
    GrannyCC – I dig bulbs up all the time, I just replant them and move along :D
    grannieannie1 – Oh, yes I rest in my garden, in fact, I eat in my garden, I read in my garden, I pray in my garden, I even nap in my garden (usually in the shade of the birch trees) :D
    wildthyme & tractor1 – I do all my bulbs by hand because they are in the midst of perennials and such, so I try to be gentle.

  20. NevadaSue 03/25/2014

    Helene, you have done an amazing job of transforming your back yard into an inviting place of beauty. I love how you have used the grow boxes and pavers and the special place there in the corner under the trees. The tulips certainly bring some spring cheer and the bleeding heart is beautiful. I love bleeding heart but the alkaline soil and water here in Nevada prevent there growing very well so it is always enjoyable to see them in other peoples yards.
    I looked at the post from before and it is such a transformation. I'm sure you enjoy many hours of pleasure in your yard. Thank you so much for sharing with us. :)

  21. CJgardens 03/26/2014

    Love the colorful tulips. Can't wait for spring! I grew my first 'Angelique' and 'Margarita" last spring. I liked that they had very stiff stems and the blossoms held up well. I planted more last fall along with 'Creme Upstar'. I'm curious to see how well last years plantings made it through the winter. In WI, mine don't always come back well. (That's ok, I just keep planting.)
    I reviewed your previous post and the transformation is impressive. Happy to hear you spend much time enjoying your yard.
    You'll have to send more photos when you complete the garden shed.

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