Tulips 2015 – My thoughts

Looking back over my photographs of tulips for this year I realise that the season was very short.  A few appeared at the end of March but the majority were completely finished by the end of April, a few very late varieties in shady spots have clung on until this week but not in a way to make any kind of show.

I have a memory that last year I spent weeks walking along the, then, new spring walk.  I was disappointed that so few of the tulips in the spring walk actually flowered again this year.  There are a couple of possible reasons.

  1. Mice ate some of the bulbs during the summer or winter; I did find some holes while I was weeding the bed in early spring.
  2. The plants of Sisyrinchium had bulked up so thickly the shoots of the bulbs couldn’t force their way through.

One thing I found interesting was that the new bulbs planted in the extension to the spring walk last autumn began flowering early (they were a mixture of early flowers) but have actually only just finished flowering now.  Tulips planted in individual drifts obviously had a shorter period of interest so it is worth mixing some early mid and late flowering types together to give the longest flowering time; in the past I would have thought that the dying blooms would detract from the newly flowering ones but that doesn’t seem to be the case, or not this year.

I also wonder if new bulbs have been stored in refrigerated conditions and so have already experienced at least some of the chill factor they need.  Next year I definitely intend storing my tulips in the fridge before planting them, perhaps I’ll have to talk to my friendly greengrocer who has a large cold-room which would probably be ideal.

T. Princess Irene

T. Princess Irene

These have been in the garden since at least 2009, not all are still present but those that remain have split so that one original bulb is producing 3 flowers.  This is a beautiful tulips and I intend ordering more this year.

T. Brown Sugar

T. Brown Sugar

This is probably my favourite tulip; it repeats consistently and lasts well, it is tall (and many tulips seem to be shorter than stated in my soil so that is a real plus point) and it dies slowly and beautifully!

T. Brown Sugar

T. Brown Sugar

You would hardy think it was the same tulip.  It does this in a vase too, I forced Brown Sugar this year and will buy more for next year.

T. Lambada (autumn 2010)

T. Lambada (autumn 2010)

I have these with Hemerocallis so their dying leaves disappear instantly, in fact the foliage of the Hemerocallis grows up well before the tulips have finished flowering.

T. Abu Hassam

T. Abu Hassam

These were one of the first tulips I planted in this garden, reliable and lovely.

T. Negrita

T. Negrita

I am a huge fan of Negrita; again these have been in the garden since before 2009.  After a couple of years the bulbs do split, this year it is clear that some bulbs are producing four or even five blooms, I actually really like this in the garden as I think it makes them look more natural when they are mixed with other plants.  They flower early and usually stand up well whatever the weather.

T. Purple Dream

T. Purple Dream

An elegant and truly beautiful tulip, I think this is one I may try to force next year.

T. Curly Sue

T. Curly Sue

Double Dazzle is a fabulous double, I don’t have any good images from the garden but here it is in a vase.

T. Double Dazzle in a vase

T. Double Dazzle in a vase

Julie at Peony and Posies used a creamy white double T. Mount Tacoma for wedding flowers, I would like to try that one next year too.

T. Purple Dream

T. Purple Dream

T. Barcelona

T. Barcelona

Barcelona is a great strong pink with a good form.

T. White Dream in the formal beds

T. White Dream in the formal beds

Not many of the tulips I planted in the formal beds in 2008 remain, strangely those that do are at the edges close to the lavender; I wonder if that means they are protected from mice by the smell of the lavender, not thought of that before but it is possible.

Multi-headed T. Blushing Girl

Multi-headed T. Blushing Girl

T. Blushing Girl opens with one largish white flower as that blushes pink a further three slightly smaller flowers open white which also fade to pink.

Perhaps the most photogenic of all the tulips, Ballerina is tall, elegant, tough and last well.

T. Ballerina

T. Ballerina

T. Ballerina

T. Ballerina

T. Ballerina

T. Ballerina

T. Ballerina

T. Ballerina

So Goodbye tulips for 2015, and now its the turn of the bearded irises and roses which have now begun flowering in My Hesperides Garden.

A last view of the spring walk.  The figs on the tree (above the tulips) are now forming and getting larger each day but it will be a few weeks until they are ready to pick.

The new part of the spring walk

The new part of the spring walk

 

 

Which is your favourite tulip?

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36 thoughts on “Tulips 2015 – My thoughts

    • Tulips are one of my favourite flowers I think because of the vast variety of colours and different forms. In the UK the season can be quite long because they all flower at distinct times, here they tend to all run together, but that can be an advantage as the newer section of the spring walk proved this year.

  1. Really interesting and very helpful review Christina. I grow Ballerina in pots and absolutely love the colour. I have Burnt Sugar now in my notebook too.

  2. I like your choices and I definitely intend to add T. Brown Sugar to the list for next year. I love the way it fades, thanks for the photo of that. Tulips generally die so tidily that it is fun to have that decadent drama adding to the show.

  3. What lovely cheery photos Christina, just the perk I needed this chilly morning, I love the way T brown sugar fades, I’m glad you posted the tulip/hemercocallis mix as I need to move a daylily and was thinking of putting it with the tulips due to foliage, I do not have many tulips due to the wet and lack of heat so daffodils are my main bulb and find some do well and propagate others have disappeared without trace after the first year, I have heard bulb producers prepare bulbs so they will flower well and that this can take a lot of energy from the bulb which is why they do not flower well for the next year or two, they need time to bulk up again, your mice and smells theory is probably right, as I don’t have mice I have not read up on them but it works for rabbits, the rabbits have never bothered with the plants with an aroma or anything near them, so I started planting with this in mind, thanks for the eye candy, Frances

    • None of the ones I’ve shown are new to me so these are tried and tested, the mix in the new part of the spring walk help some lovely surprises but, of course I don’t know their names and I think that sometimes Peter Nyssen includes new varieties that he doesn’t have enough of to sell individually and may not stock in future. There was a mix of fringe-edged included and some were amazing, like ice crystals on the tops, I will have to show some and hope that someone knows some of the names.

  4. You’ve got a really nice selection Christina, and they look lovely together as well as in colour groups. Another factor why some haven’t returned could be the dry conditions in summer, or do you water/feed them?

    • Tulips need to be dry in summer that’s why it is recommended to dig them up each year in the UK! My conditions are perfect for tulips except for the late winter chill! I could feed in spring while they still have their foliage but I never do. That is the time to feed though if you are going to.

  5. If my experiment of interplanting bulbs with strongly scented herbs foils those pesky gophers, I may give tulips another try. In the meantime, I surely do enjoy yours.

  6. Your spring walk is just gorgeous! We both have ‘Ballerina’ and ‘Princess Irene’, your other varieties are new to me. I can see why you like ‘Brown Sugar’ – I really like ‘Abu Hassan’ as well. Would you consider planting some very early tulips like T. kaufmanniana ‘Early Harvest’ or T. turkestanica?

    • Early tulips just aren’t that early here because they don’t get early cold! They mostly all flower at once except for the very late varieties but then they run into the bearded iris season so aren’t so useful.

  7. Such a great post, thankyou – I have bookmarked it!
    I have put a few tulips in this last month – just mixed, as I am experimenting with seeing if any of them naturalise in the garden. Thankfully I don’t have mice, but old-timer, local gardeners tell me that wet summers or other unfavourable weather conditions (such as lack of prolonged winter cold) stop the bulbs from flowering and fattening, or that the tulips simply disappear after 3 years, if not topped up.
    At any rate, many of your favourites are also mine, so I have bookmarked this to see if I can track down those better performing varieties if my ‘mixed bag’ do OK next year 🙂

    • From reading other books it seems to me that in more temperate climates the species tulips are the ones that naturalise whereas here they perform badly. In dry, free draining soil many of the hybrids will do well, especially the ones I mentioned. Look forward to seeing your tulips when I’m planting mine later in the year!

  8. So interesting to read about your tulip experience Christina – I was thinking I must have missed your spring walk as I remember it from last year and your tulip season seemed to go on for ages. Good idea to consider what plants might hide the dying foliage

    • I remember the spring walk lasting a long time last year; certainly every year is different. What was significant was that the new planting ( the extension to the SW) did last longer than anywhere else in the garden, so it could be that new bulbs perform better, I don’t know. Last year was the year of the tulips and this has become the year of the Irises!

  9. A shame your Spring Walk wasn’t as long lived for tulip interest this year, I remember how amazing it was last year. Will you now put an extension on the extension?! I am really happy to see the tulips I planted last year in the front garden back again in apparently the same strength, so I shall plant more this autumn, and ‘Purple Dream’ looks like it may have to go on the list… I also love ‘Brown Sugar’, and it would go well in the central bed, so thank you, more ideas! I will also have to watch out for the sysyrinchium issue, as I have just bought some for the front garden and would combine them with the tulips if I go that route. Food for thought. As for ‘Ballerina’, still my number one, love the colour, the shape, and the scent.

  10. I enjoyed your tulip post Christina, it is useful to compare notes on which ones do well. You grow many of my favourites. I love your Spring Walk. Next year I am certainly going to take your tip and grow Burnt Sugar.

  11. I echo Kris’ sentiment above. I am completely tulip envious, and your spring walk is my dream! Here very few tulips repeat. Generally they are all treated as annuals. If they did repeat despite the weather, I am sure the voles would get them, unless planted in pots.

    • with the losses I had from mice this last year I am nervous about planting in the ground again but I do love the tulips so much I will give them another chance and just try to be more vigilant.

    • There’s a really bronze coloured Dutch Iris, I wrote about it last year, sorry I don’t remember the name right now but if you don’t find it, do ask me and I’ll try to find the name for you.

  12. I do love your Brown Sugar and Princess Irene…the tulips do look lovely even though some did not show. Here the conditions are so cold they rarely reappear, but I am planning to plant some in secluded spots away from deer and where voles don’t usually go.

    I have a surprise at the end of May I am unveiling and you are the inspiration along with a few others…and I have a spot all worked out in fall so I can plant tulips too.

  13. Pingback: Flower Focus – The Big Tulip Review 2015 | Peonies & Posies

  14. Pingback: Tulip review 2015 | Duver Diary

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