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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
(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.