When I ventured into this world of hydroponic tulip propagation in November - http://northeastgardener.blogspot.com/2008/11/hydroponic-tulips.html - I did so with hopes of having better luck forcing tulips than I had in the past. Previous attempts to manage the conditions necessary to produce flowers had proven unsuccessful. Attaining their essential period of cold without having pots frozen into the ground, providing appropriate transition conditions from outdoors to in, too much water, not enough water. Considerable effort with nothing but mushy bulbs or a pot full of leaves sans blossoms to show for it.
Well six bulbs survived the refrigerator treatment. I lost about a dozen to molding. These bulbs were purchased from a local home store. The six that made it were from a reputable source. Lesson learned there.
Once out of the refrigerator, these six sat on cold south window sills from January 24th until February 17th when they started blooming. I moved them to my favorite spot for blooming plants - the north window behind the kitchen sink. There's just something special about having flowers at the kitchen sink.
I enjoyed the dim early morning light on their buds, watched them open to the warmth of kitchen lights and cooking, followed their tracking the sun across the day as they changed position in the vases, and appreciated their open faces as I cooked dinner all week long. I'd catch their scent while washing up dishes, never enjoying kitchen clean up as much as this week.
This morning the tulips are still going strong. Their fresh fragrance and color a defiance of gusting winds with 8 degree readings outside the north kitchen window. Go ahead and blow you old north wind. We're celebrating spring, my tulips and me.