Six on Saturday | Welcome to BST

I make no apologies for the number of tulip photos you will see this week. The first few photos are of tulips grown in pots in previous years that have come back again this year, proving that although tulips prefer a cold spell over winter and a hot baking summer, sometimes you are lucky enough to have them return despite a truly horrendous wet winter.

Last year’s bulbs in the foreground, new ones (red) behind

So I begin with a big welcome to the tulips. I am a little worried that so many of you are flowering right now, it would be nice if you could practice some social distancing and take it in turns to open up. The sunshine that has been with us all week has prompted many of you who are supposed to flower in late April and early May to join in with the early birds. Don’t. Stoppit. Your time will come.

Ballerina, Brown Sugar and Whittallii – first planted October 2016. Ronaldo in the background was planted in 2018.

Those of you who have followed my blogs for a while, including the flower blog which is currently in hibernation, will know all about my love of tulips. I cannot get enough of them, though this year I was seduced by lots of miniature daffodils and narcissi. My colour range is normally dark purples/reds and the orange/copper/bronze shades.

Cairo and Ronaldo – first planted October 2018

I have experimented with Parrots (and hated them) and last year I tried the well-known ‘Belle Epoque’ which is a delightful apricot/pink/coffee-cream confection, but again as a double flower, not really suitable in the windy conditions experienced in my garden. Along with the softer pastel theme I chose ‘Apricot Beauty’ and ‘Apricot Foxx’ – neither of which appealed to me.

Ballerina and Whittallii from 2016
Another look at the 2016 planter

So this year I went for a collection of six different lily-flowering tulips (also known as FlutedTulips) as I like the elegant look of them with their slender flowers and often pointed, recurving petals. ‘Ballerina’ have been a favourite of mine for several years, the colour and the scent being exceptional. I planted them in separate pots so I could mix and match the colours however I wanted.

(1)  Tulipa ‘Lasting Love’ – A deep red tulip with darker tones. If you look this one up then you will find some photos that are much darker than mine. Some looking much more purple. Mine are distinctly red. Maybe they will darken with age? They are very lovely though so I am not too concerned.

(2) Tulipa ‘West Point’ – I have never grown a yellow tulip. Yellow for me is a colour I associate with daffodils in spring. But this was in the collection I bought. This photo is taken with the white Ipheion in the foreground and Tulipa ‘Red Shine’ in the background. Definitely a fluted tulip!

(3) Tulipa ‘Red Shine’ is a glowing ruby-red flower with the lovely elegant lily-flowered shape. It gets its name from the way the petals literally shine when struck by the sun. According to the description by J.Parkers this should have a yellow base. It hasn’t. Edit: seen fully open this afternoon I noticed that it does have a white base! And it really glows in the sunshine.

Edit: Tulip Red Shine has a yellow base. White base probably Pieter de Leur, a common substitution! (Thanks to Matt Long for the information)

(4) Narcissi Tete a Tete Double (Pencrebar).  I bought these bulbs last year but most failed to flower. I am delighted to see more of them appear this year, a little later than the single variety or the white ‘Toto’. I ought to plant them with some of the dark blue Muscari next year to make a more spectacular bowl. This bulb produces large fully double golden yellow flowers in February to March with a fabulous sweet fragrance. Great for containers, borders with its height of 15-20cm, but they do seem to hang their pretty heads.

(5) Narcissus ‘Thalia’ is one of the few daffodils that open out pure white, this is refined and elegant, a greeny-white flower, multi-headed and scented. A well-known classy favourite since 1916, it is also a very good cut flower. I featured this flower a couple of weeks ago in bud, but now it is fully open and looking good in the sunshine. Planted at the bottom of my garden it shines out.

The Raised bed at the bottom of the garden, filled with white Narcissus at the moment – Pueblo, Thalia and Geranium.

(6) Saxifrage arendsii ‘Pixie Rose’ is in my Belfast sink. It was doing really well throughout most of the winter, but eventually succumbed to the wet weather and some of it rotted. I was therefore very happy to see some flowers on it this week. If it continues to grow then it will come indoors next winter!

And finally with the dry weather I have managed to clear the new bed I created last autumn of all the weeds that shot up (buttercups mainly) and spread over a bag of bark chippings. Two plants in pots – a hydrangea and a hellebore – have been planted too, so we’ll see how they fare.

While we are having to stay at home and practice social distancing in these distressing times those of us with gardens are so much more lucky that those without. Sharing them through the Prop’s meme will allow everyone to enjoy the spring flowers and help to keep stress at bay. And those in the southern hemisphere can share their autumn colours.

As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world.

Take care out there!

See here for the participant’s guide.

Six on Saturday


  1. Katharine says:

    How splendid your tulips are looking! They were a joy to see and so well photographed. Mine are still a week or two away from flowering but having seen your pictures I’m growing impatient but then again right now, we have all the time in the world…

    1. Heyjude says:

      Mine are all coming together at once, too early! I won’t have anything in bloom by the end of the month.

  2. Such beautiful tulips! 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      They are rather lovely, thank you!

  3. Eye candy, Jude! As much as I loved your flower photos, I adored the first pic of your garden – the colors, the shapes, the underlying green – just beautiful!

  4. What a wonderful post to return to, after a long time away. Your garden is looking splendid: fine reward after your-unfavourite-season. I love the way you talk to the tulips at the beginning, and the way you know them all by name. I smiled at you clearing weeds: Joe’s just re-establish his garden after bushfires and he has fenced off a section for edible weeds. We’ve been feasting on pigweed / purslane aka Portulaca oleracea (boiling away as I write) and we’re waiting delivery of “The foragers’ handbook”. Stay healthy and distanced. You’re right about gardens and self-isolation.

  5. cavershamjj says:

    no need to apologise for too many tulips! in fact that is not a phrase which even makes sense. I have been pleasantly surprised by how many of my “planted in the ground” tulips have come back this year. perhaps I’ve been lucky with my choices. I do plant them very deep, much deeper than it says on the packet, about a foot deep, and my soil drains pretty well. I think I will plant the best of my pot tulips in the ground after they have flowered. nothing ventured.

  6. n20gardener says:

    Such a delight to see tulips and the colours are beautiful. You are tempting me to some more orange ones – i had some inherited ones last year but so far they’ve not arrived. I have very few tulips in pots and always rely on the ones in the ground coming back. Angelique went missing last year but otherwise it’s been okay. But then this is the third or fourth year of them so maybe they’ll be getting fewer. The saxifrage looks great.

  7. Oh Jude what fantastic Tulips. Brown Sugar is my favourite. How long do you keep your Tulips? Do you just leave them till they look past their best as soon as they flower.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Brown Sugar is delightful, but I probably don’t have many of them left. I allow the bulbs to die down in the pots and then remove them, keeping any larger ones to replant in the autumn. I always buy new big bulbs every year to plant in pots.

  8. I love your pots of tulips. Ronaldo keeps coming back for me too. The flowers and smaller, but still a good size. The combination of colours you’ve chosen work very well together.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Yes, Ronaldo is much smaller this year but such a lovely colour. Not sure how well the yellow and pink ones will fit in. We’ll see 😊

  9. Dina says:

    Beyond beautiful, awesome tribute to the tulip, Jude. You do have green hands 💚 we are utterly impressed 💚

    1. Heyjude says:

      Lots of tulip photos to come Dina!

      1. Dina says:

        🙂 🙂

  10. You are truly the Tulip Lady, Jude. What a magnificent array of colour and different styles. Magical photos. 😍

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Sylvia, I admit that I am quite passionate about tulips!

      1. You’re up late. 😴

        1. Heyjude says:

          I’m a night owl 🦉

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