by Keriann Sloat Koeman—
As autumn slowly approaches, the sun continues to kiss my shoulders with 90-degree days here in Brightwood, Virginia. I am ruminating over what my spring garden will look like in April. How will I use late blooming tulips to extend the color in the garden? Where will I plant the naturalizing botanicals like Lady Jane and Turkastanica so they won’t be disturbed? What color combinations will I choose? I feel like a mad scientist as a smile creeps across my face and warmth spreads in my chest. This is really exciting! Only 2 months to go till planting time.
Since marrying Jeroen Koeman (aka The Tulip Man) almost two years ago, my life has been taken over by a flower I thought was common, but have since discovered it’s so much more. I’ve learned more about the tulip—its history, its plight with pests and fire blight, its tendency to drive people mad—than I ever could have imagined.
The summer has barely started to fade away and yet there is the ever-so-slight promise of fall. We’ve had a few days in the 80s and finally we’re able to open windows in the evening to let in a cool breeze. It’s on one of these evenings that I find myself here on the porch, feet up, making sketches of the spring garden, while beautiful little gold finches eat the sunflowers that were beaten to the ground by last week’s rain, and cicadas sing louder than my neighbor’s lawn mower. While the common, infamous, and seductive tulip fills my mind.