In a Vase on Monday – Hand Tied Tulips

A grey wet morning greeted me when I opened the shutters this morning.  It is a good thing that I had picked the flowers for today’s vase yesterday.

More tulips!  I hope that there will be tulips every week for the next few weeks from the pots of forced tulip bulbs in the greenhouse.  On Friday I noted that the first couple of Tulip Purissima were beginning to show some white colour (I know white isn’t a colour, but you know what I mean).  By Saturday one had opened completely.

Purissima otherwise known as White Emperor is a Fosteriana type of tulip as is Exotic Emperor although I would have to say I can’t see any similarity in their form or growth pattern.

I picked only those tulips that were showing white so this is a much smaller vase than last week’s when all 25 in the pot were opening all at the same time.

I decided to simply hand tie my tulips with the addition of another couple of Narcissus that have flowered.

Tulip Purissima with Narcissus and my glass of crab apples

Tulip Purissima with Narcissus and my glass of crab apples

Tulip Purissima

Tulip Purissima

I buy all my tulips from Peter Nyssen.  His tulips are top quality and are sold at excellent prices if you are buying more than the minimum 10 of each variety.  I paid £10.80 for 60  for Purissima and £11.50 for 50 for Exotic Emperor.  So this means that last week’s vase that comprised 25 stems cost £5.75, so definitely worth growing my own as tulips are expensive in florists here (you pay per stem usually not per bunch and they are often not very fresh.  In supermarkets flowers are much less available than in the UK.

For me this justifies that I may not have any success in planting them in the garden and their flowering there next year.  The rest of my order for these 2 varieties was planted in the garden.

Nest year I would like to experiment further with chilling times and time from planting to flowering; if anyone knows more about this I would be grateful for any information.  To experiment in a scientific manner I will use one variety of tulip and record carefully the chilling times and temperatures and times to flowering.  I may choose Exotic Emperor for my experiment as it has already proved that all the bulbs flower at once and they remain in good condition for over a week.

Tulip Exotic Emperor one week and one day in the vase

Tulip Exotic Emperor one week and one day in the vase

I love how the petals now appear to be silk, with just the edges looking slightly dried.  A good tulip for me has to die beautifully as well as be lovely in its prime.

With thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this increasingly popular meme.  Do check what she and all the dedicated Monday ‘vasers’ have produced today.

44 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday – Hand Tied Tulips

  1. This will prove to be a really useful post for other bloggers, Christina, as well as giving us your simple and elegant vase to admire. I am sure the experiment will pay off and keeping records will enable you to make decisions on the variables involved. I am always undecided on what to do with their leaves when I use them in a vase. Thanks for such an informative post

    • I have found keeping a spread sheet with sowing, germinating and harvest times really helpful in planning for this year’s seed sowing. I’m trying to also add more notes as the season progresses; I think it is the only way to make vegetable and cut flower growing reliable. I didn’t keep records this year of the tulips and I really wish I had. I’m glad you found the post interesting and informative and I hope it will be useful to others.

      • Yes, I have certainly found my seed sowing record helpful – particularly in anticipating when things will germinate and how long from sowing to flowering

        • I know that growing conditions are different each year but germinating times seem to be quite consistent as long as the seed is fresh. Time to flowering, I haven’t been so good with my record keeping, depending more on my photographs which isn’t exactly scientific!

  2. What gorgeous waxy tulips and I agree the cream and pale ones are subtly stunning. I enjoyed your sums but interestingly tulips are the only cut flowers I am prepared to buy. I feel guilty about the air miles but they are such good value in the UK supermarket from January through till mine burst into flower. But with my new pop-up greenhouse maybe I too could overwinter tulips to bring them on early. Do you heat your greenhouse?

    • I only keep the greenhouse frost free, because of all the salad leaves, but it does warm up quite a bit on sunny days, 30°C is the highest its been since New Year but realistically the temperature is usually below 10°C. The tulips would probably be faster to flower if the temperature was higher; something else I should monitor next year when I do my experiment.

    • The tulips I planted last autumn in the ground are just coming through here too; previous seasons bulbs may need a little longer. Tulips have been my favourite flower for a while now and they are really the only flower I’m prepared to spend money to have them even for just one season. I’m lucky that here those planted in the garden usually return each year unless the mice get to them which happened to some of the last year.

  3. Great post, thank you, Christina and an inspiration to try forcing some early bulbs myself next year. I agree, sprays of narcissus are a beautiful complement for the tulips, a lovely idea.

  4. I have planted a lot of tulips this season, mostly in pots, so I am still weeks away from learning how they do for me. It’s hard not to be jealous of your early results. Well done.

    • I’m sure you’re too nice a person to be jealous John. My tulips in the garden won’t be in flower for weeks maybe even a month and a half even for the earliest ones.

  5. I hope you have oodles of tulips as I am flower starved and tulip deprived. Perhaps one winter I will force some of my own. And I love how you displayed these so simply. I look forward to hearing about your forcing experiments Christina. I learn so much from you!

  6. It may be smaller but it’s no less beautiful than last week’s composition, Christina! I may follow your suggestion and try protecting some tulip bulbs under cover in my raised planters next year, although I’ll need some strong covers to protect them from our fierce Santa Ana winds.

    • I’m actually glad that the second pot of tulips didn’t all flower at once; if it had it would have ended up looking the same as last week’s vase, this way I have the small vase in the kitchen.

  7. I’ve never planted white tulips, but these are splendid. I love their small yellow bases which your narcissus pick up so well. Definitely agree with you about the importance of how they fade. I’ve just thrown away a vase of red tulips that threw themselves about the vase with great abandon for the last couple of days. Fantastic!

    • I’ve always grown white tulips, they are so elegant, but I love all the colours too! It was interesting that the Exotic Emperors didn’t stop being straight, I didn’t do anything to them to prevent it, maybe it is because they were in a quite shady part of the room.

  8. These would also look lovely alone in a vase, but I like the addition of the narcissi… What a successful experiment it has been with forcing them Christina. I can often find nice tulips in the supermarket here, but it is not the same as having your own!

    • That’s what I always think. I haven’t bought any flowers for the house since I began the cuttings beds. Winter and early spring are the most important for flowers in the house because even if there are flowers in the garden it isn’t always nice enough to go out and enjoy them.

    • I wasn’t efficient at noting when the bulbs went in the fridge nor when they were planted. The majority were potted up in the second week of December, some earlier than that but I don’t know which ones hence my need for a proper experiment next year. What I do need is a dedicated fridge!

  9. Lovely the way the Narcissi perfectly echo the Tulip colours, and beautiful tulips! I have just emptied out my last pots of tulip bulbs, the rest were in the fridge a month ago. We have had such abundant rain this summer that these are not as dry as I would like. I think I will try planting them earlier this year to let them get more established before we start getting warm days. I tried keeping the pots on the cold side of the greenhouse for a start last year, I think it may have helped.

    • It is important that the tulips don’t grow too much before it is cold. Here December is the best time to plant, if I plant them earlier than that they start into growth rather than just putting their roots down. Even in the UK tulips are the last bulbs to be planted.

  10. What a marvelous combination in your vase, and the crabapples are a perfect complement! Most tulips have to be treated as annuals here. I am awed by gardens that contain vast swaths of tulips, awed by the beauty and by the expense!

    • In the garden tulips often last many years here. The ones for cutting that are in pots in the greenhouse I am considering as annuals and considering the cost as the cost of florists flowers, so not too expensive to enjoy.

  11. Your white vase of tulips and daffs looks so elegant with the red crabapples, Christina! T like the swirly parrot tulips, I’m inpoired to try to force some next year, since they are so pretty but the squirrels get them all.

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