I promised in my last posts about tulips that I would tell you how long the various tulips flowered this year and which have flowered again from previous years.
Looking back at my photos for last year I can see that although this has been as amazingly warm and sunny spring, the fact that the winter was cold (even if also with many days of sun) some of the tulips were at least 2 weeks behind this this. The roses are also later – but most are just beginning now.
Because I don’t irrigate I am able to leave my tulips in the ground. I only began planting tulips in the ground in autumn 2008 so I am only talking about tulips that have flowered for their third year at most.
I planted 1000 Tulip White Dream in 2 formal beds in autumn 2008. I planted by digging largish planting holes and putting 10 12 bulbs in each hole, I also planted alliums at the same time and at a slightly higher level than the tulips. Even in spring 2009 I don’t think 1000 bulbs came up – I think this was my fault for planting too close together. They were also quite short in their first year, possibly because the site is so windy. I have noticed this year that tulips planted in positions more sheltered from the wind grow taller!
There have been less appearing each year but they have still given a good show. Triumph tulips flower early here and I intend planting another white tulip possibly Swan Wings into these 2 beds and the other 2 which haven’t had tulips before. This number of tulips is quite expensive but I like to have something in these beds that will flower relatively early. I am considering also planting the local blue Iris that grows wild everywhere in these beds with the perovskia.
Negrita is another favourite; I love the strong colour and its large size. This is another Triumph type and is one of the first to flower and usually lasts well, often losing its petals long after others that opened later.
It is also very similar in colour to Double Dazzle which was also very long lasting I intend planting more Double Dazzle close to where the Negrita are planted to keep the colour tones but increase the period of interest.
Even as they died the colour in the petals remained again increasing the period of interest.
Another Triumph type tulip I enjoy very much is Abu Hussan; I particularly like the fact that it is perfumed, smelling delicately of honey. I first planted these in 2008, some in a pot that didn’t re-flower this year and a few in the ground some of which did appear again but probably only 25%. I planted a lot more in autumn 2010 in the small island bed close to two different varieties of Euphorbia. They have a real presence in the garden so I may plant more next autumn or wait another year or so to replenish those that fail to regrow.
In 2009 I planted parrot tulips for the first time – I don’t really like as tulips but if I just think of them as a different strange flower then I think they are fun. I planted Texas Flame, the flower-heads were large and top heavy.
I didn’t have any real hope that they would re-flower, I thought them too hybridised; however not only did the majority of them flower again this year, each bulb produced three flower heads! Maybe not quite so large as last year but still larger than their stems.
Tiny Tulipa Linifolia begins with strangely twisted stars of foliage, last year I thought they were Alliums rather than tulips; they flower as if the flower is coming straight out of the ground, completely hiding the foliage. The colour is truly scarlet red and they appear to me to be smiling faces in the sun. All last years bulbs re-flowered and some divided to give an even better show this year.
Burgundy lace also flowered well for a second year. In 2010 they faded so slowly they seemed to be flowering for ever, this year despite hot sunshine and strong winds they have again outlasted many others.
I didn’t remember accurately where they were planted and sowed some California poppies right where they were planted; the red of the tulips mixed with the orange and yellow of the poppies gave a surprising colour shock to the large island bed. Combined with purple (not sure of the name as they seem to be different to the description) and some Gavota planted nearby, the brightness reminded me of visits to Sissinghurst to see the spring walk (a part of that wonderful garden I always enjoyed almost more than the more famous White Garden or the wonderful roses).
I think this and all the tulips look much better when planted with foliage of other plants close by. But I’ve written too much already, there is time for one more post about tulips and their complementary plants next week.
I wish you all a very happy gardening Easter.