The Tulip Chorus

The bobbing beaks of Tulipa sylvestris that I admired with such fervour a month ago along the front verge soon burst into elegant backswept yellow stars.

Tulipa sylvestris

Tulipa sylvestris

These replaced the golden trumpets of the Rijnveld’s Early Sensation daffodils that chirped along here first, and were in turn accompanied and taken over by bursts of hotter colour from the addition of some orange-red hybrid tulips that you can just glimpse above.

Tulips and shadows

They were given to me in pots last year by my Mum, where they were one of the gems of our emerging garden last April. In the autumn, I turned them out from their pots and buried half the bulbs along the verge, and half in one of the new narrow beds in the front garden.

Tulip 'Veronique Sanson'

They have put on another good show this year even on our heavy clay. Their name was unknown to us; they turned out rather emphatically not to be the pink-purple variety that my Mum ordered, but research suggests them to be Tulipa ‘Véronique Sanson’. They have bloomed long and hard all month, and look particularly stunning among the velvety Erysimum cheiri ‘Blood Red’ that I raised from seed last year.

Tulipa Veronique Sanson and wallflowers Erysimum cheirii 'Blood Red'

Despite April’s tempestuous storms, these are still standing strong, their petals showing tenacious staying power, though their shape has relaxed and softened into a more rounded chalice. As the month has progressed, their fiery red has tempered through rich orange to a paler hue that reaches towards yellow, making the warmer stripes down the centre of each petal more prominent.

Tulipa 'Veronique Sanson'

With a sweet delicious scent, their display has surpassed my expectations this year; I hope to add another tulip to this mix next year, something pale or perhaps a dark one to enrich the pallet of colours, shapes and textures in this bed further.

Containers of Tulip 'Barcelona'

Tulipa Barcelona

I refilled the pots that they vacated with fuschia-toned Tulipa ‘Barcelona’ in the autumn, and placed the two containers one either side of the porch as they came into flower  – at a suitable distance from the borders to avoid colour clashes. Their vivid pink is stunning in rain or sun, and I love their smooth egg-shaped heads.

Tulip petals on grass

These seem much more susceptible to the onslaught of our weather though, and the strewn hot pink petals upon zesty lime grass paint a surprisingly exotic picture – like the remnants of a tropical wedding party. In the past day or two these losses have started to take their toll, revealing the delicious lemon centres which the petals were holding closely within.

Peeking into heart of Tulip 'Barcelona'

Open heart of tulip Barcelona, weather-torn petals

Pots of tulip Barcelona, slightly weather-beaten

Despite this lax behaviour, I am still quite captivated by them. A leftover handful of bulbs languished indoors and were hastily pushed into one of the beds late in February. They have since pushed up short rosettes of leaves, though time will tell if they come into flower. The containerised bulbs will be added to the garden in the autumn to take their chances, I wonder whether they will return next year with as much vigour as the Véronique Sanson have shown?

Tulipa 'Barcelona'

Tulip 'Barcelona'

They are quite beautiful, particularly glittering with raindrops – a frequent sight this week!

15 thoughts on “The Tulip Chorus

  1. Some beautiful tulips there. The heavy rain has decimated most of mine although some ‘triumphator’ and ‘queen of the night’ are still standing. Planning on buying more tulips this autumn. My problem is I’m always too stingy with them.

  2. Those Tulipa ‘Barcelona’ are stunning and just the colour I need for a part of the border where I’m trying to plant a succession of plants in this colour, thank you. It is interesting how some tulips hold onto their petals and other blow off with a sigh. Christina

    • Ah excellent, I look forward to seeing them flourish for you next year then. Hopefully your weather will be a little less wild than ours.

  3. I love tulips. I hardly grow any in pots now, as they seem to do better in borders for me. Although I have noticed that I have lost a lot of the 2-3 year old months this year, it could be due to the dry year last year

    • It’s good that tulips love your borders. I plan on adding one or two new tulips directly in the border next year, as well as continue with one new variety in pots each year that then go out into the border the following year.

  4. Your usual flamboyant writing style is returning, Sara! I love the close-up pic of the inside of that pink tulip, but the Tulipa Sylvestris is the most attractive plant in the set.

    • Thanks, Mark; I found writing rather cathartic, and a great distraction. Tulipa sylvestris is so striking in its simplicity, I really hope that they spread happily along the front, and will add more species tulips there this autumn too.

    • How peculiar that yours have been harder hit; I am amazed that everything in our garden is not horizontal given the strong winds and heavy rainfall this month, and indeed the lack of shelter here.

    • Thank you.

      It is a wonderful vibrant colour; if they re-bloom in the border next year then I think adding some off-whites and dark purples with them would look rather special too.

  5. Pingback: End of the Month View – May 2012 « Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

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