Tapered tulip petals wrap tightly around each other, a hint of the blooms to come. In a vase, they stand at attention amid graceful green leaves – my private garden.

Eventually, these shy flowers open up, trusting that they are safe. As the petals loosen, the tulips bloom into their deep rosey-pink fullness. Within each flowery cup, a breathtaking interior life is revealed. From a delicate white base tinged with a hint of sunshine yellow, spring six deep brown sentries protecting a hardy three – point star.

Unused to all this attention, my shy tulips fold their petals a little closer together. As we spend more time together, they relax and bloom more brightly than ever before.

There they remain, until finally, they bow their beautiful heads and say good-bye.

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