Tulip time again!

The Tulips are the best ever this year.  I am sure this is due to the long cold (but not very cold winter) we have had.  Tulips need 13 – 15 weeks of cold followed by the soil warming to flower well.  I think newly purchased tulips have had some cold treatment already as new tulips usually flower quite well; although they are often over very quickly.  This year some that were planted in Autumn 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 are all flowering; I didn’t purchase any in 2011.

Many that are several years old have even multiplied and I can see that one original bulb is producing up to 4 stems of flowers.

Given that tulips are one of my favourite flowers I am walking around with a very happy smile playing around my lips as I enjoy the show!

So no more words, or even names for this post – just an orgy of tulips glowing in the spring light (day and at sunset).

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There are others lovelies in the garden too, Clematis armandii is full of deliciously scented flowers, making the pergola look as if it is covered in snow.

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Viburnum burkwoodii has grown to be taller than the Photinia hedge and is filling that corner of the garden with such a wonderful perfume I wish I could bottle it.

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Viburnum burkwoodii

Viburnum burkwoodii

As guess what?  I can’t resist showing you that Anemone Sylphide is still flowering!

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What tulips grow well for you; and which reliably flower in successive years?

43 thoughts on “Tulip time again!

  1. First of all, I’m so glad that someone is having lovely weather, really I am !! It is starting to warm up here at last thank goodness, but I’m in London at the moment, visiting our son and dil for the weekend,goodness knows what it is doing at home!
    The only tulip which flowers each year for me in our clay soil, even though it has been improved, is Abu Hassan, I’m trying others in pots this year to see if I have better results.
    Your tulips are looking really good and a true sign that spring has arrived with you.

    • It isn’t that warm here; we have a fire lit this evening and yesterday was very cold indeed! But the flowers think it is spring so at least I feel happy. Christina

  2. You must have excellent conditions for your tulips that they keep blooming after several years. Most hybrid tulips here in public gardens are planted for a single year, though some are more perennial than others. I particularly like your red and red/yellow varieties!

    • My soil is very free draining and I don’t irrigate where they are planted. White Dream, planted in the formal beds were planted in autumn 2008 as were the Abu Hassan; they are one of the best for reflowering (see Pauline’s comment below) Christina

  3. Beautiful, just Beautiful!

    It took years for me to accept that growing tulips in the Coastal Southern US is fraught with tulip fire, voles, weeks in a refrigerator dedicated to bulbs and plain failure. Few tulips ever grew well for me and a successive flower was a miracle. While your tulips bloom so gloriously, I have Amaryllis appropriately in bloom.

  4. Christina your tulips are beautiful, I bought some Queen of the night years ago which did well for a few years, I dug some of them up last year and found lots of babies, very small.
    When I bought some lilies in autumn 2010 they sent me some free tulips with the order Ronaldo and Jimmy, one is dark the other bright orange/red, I was a bit unsure but planted them anyway, I love them they flowered well the last 2 springs and are growing well now but like most things this year later than previously, I have thought of buying more but the last 2 autumns have been so wet I just haven’t looked at any bulbs,
    Christina I gather from your reply to gardeninacity that tulips like a very free draining soil, mine are in my front garden which is raised and free draining, I am thinking this is the best place for them and not in areas of my garden with retentive soil, Frances

    • That’s right Frances, they like some rain in autumn and winter but like it dry and hot in summer, they are native to Turkey where the winters are very cold and summers dry and hot. Do try some in your front garden, they do give such intense colour. Christina

  5. oh yay! How beautiful – how cheery – how colorful! Now I know why I don’t see tulips in Texas – I had no idea they needed so many weeks of cold. I am longing for them now! You always want what you can’t have! ha!

  6. Tulips here usually don’t return, or slowly dwindle. (not enough winter chill) This year, all mine returned, and I am thrilled! Oh, how I wish I could add to my tulips like you do and have them all return! Simply gorgeous!

    • Some varieties return better than others and I try to choose them for the garden but in pots I just treat them like annuals, they’re not so expensive for the wonderful show they give. Christina

  7. Christine, I’m amazed your tulips last so well through the years. They’re very lovely. Where I am tulips do look nice the first year but don’t return reliably, so I try to enjoy those the neighbors plant. Your Clematis is outstanding.

  8. I also appreciate tulips in all of their wonderful variations. Just north of the Seattle metro area is the Skagit Valley which is one of the largest tulip bulb exporters in the United States. Each year they begin their tulip festival on the 1st day of April and it runs through the end of the month. Over 500,000 come to enjoy the vast fields each year to see them in full bloom. I have information below so you can see them.


  9. Your tulips are really beautiful. They are flowers I am coming to appreciate more and more. I didn’t know about the cold period that they require. They have certainly survived in some very dry areas of my garden but I did not realise they preferred it not too damp. I love the Clematis armandi and I have been toying with the idea of getting one. Is it difficult to look after?

    • Thank You Amelia, Clematis armandii is very easy, it doesn’t need regular pruning, it is evergreen, although the leaves a tough and leathery and not that attractive. The flowers are scented with honey and the bees love it. You might need to grow it against a shouth facing wall or in a sheltered position but it withstood temperatures here of minus 9 or 10° C last winter. The only possible problem is that smails love it, but once it is established they don’t seem to cause too much damage. Christina

  10. Gorgeous, Christina. Tulips struggle in my garden because of the winter wet. Two years max is probably their life span here. Although I have found Purissima and White Triumphator to both be more reliable than others. My species tulips are just starting to flower but my others are all a long way off still.

    • I love White Triumphator I think I put some in pots this year, I intend putting all the white tulips from the pots into the back two formal beds where I’ve never planted tulips before. I have to do it as soon as they’ve flowered as it’s now impossible to get into the beds in the autumn. Christina

  11. Breathtaking! I also adore the large tulips but as others have noted there are too many reasons that they do not last in my garden. What I have done was to plant the species tulips and small as they are, they increase the size of their clumps and are not eaten by the voles that inhabit my garden. I wish there could be a way to breed this characteristic into the fancy hybrids. The little darlings are very diverse in shape, color, and make one stoop close to appreciate them on a very personal level. Thank you for posting your wonderful collection. A New Englander.

    • Thank you for your kind comments. I planted species tulips too last autumn but I was very dissapointed that they didn’t last very long, perhps they will improve with time? Christina

  12. Ah marvellous tulips, what a sight for sore eyes. You really are the harbinger of spring, Christina. They look wonderful. Our leaves are still pushing up slowly through, hopefully by the end of the month we too will have tulips shouting loudly at the skies.

    • It didn’t feel very spring like yesterday, we even lit a fire both evenings at the weekend, but today is glorious and friends are coming to see the tulips so its nice to share their fleeting beauty. Christina

  13. Oh Christina your tulips are amazing! The red up pointing ones in particular. It’s unbelievable they even managed to multiply!!! This year I realized I’ve lost all my tulipa turkestanika (supposed to be amongst the toughest tulips). I only have the orange ‘shogun’ coming into flower, thankfully because i loved them last year. So you are leaving all your tulips into ground every year? I shall improve drainage in my garden, I suppose…

    • Thank you Alberto, yes I always leave my tulips in the ground, it would be too much work to lift and replant them. In England I used to treat them as annuals and usually I planted them in pots. I have seen a clever way of planting in pond baskets, sinking them into the soil (they receive plenty of water in winter that way), then lifting the whole basket when they’ve finished flowering and letting them die back out of sight. But even this sounds like too much work to me. Christina

      • I agree. and that lets you with too much gaps in the beds, I prefer planting my bulbs in places that later are filled and covered by grasses or other perennials. I guess I shall stick with daffodils, my soil is too heavy for tulips.

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