The foul weather (swirling winds, torrential rain) meant I had to perform an emergency rescue on my tulips.

These poor things were in danger of getting their necks broken. So was I.

The rescue situation explains why some blooms are already at their creative peak (see my post from yesterday, Aging Beauties). Here is good old ‘Ballerina’:

My daughter and I made a brilliant discovery yesterday whilst musing on the complexity of a Euphorbia ‘cyathium’ (a flower reduced to the essential sexual parts – no lingerie frou-frou of petals).

If you look closely, and admire that neat tackle, you see that the two little pockets/suction cups/plungers are miniature versions of the satellite dishes they rest upon. So presumably they grow and develop into a satellite dish, which will in turn have two of its own mini mini satellite dishes. How many minute satellite dishes are lying in wait in ever tinier dimensions?

We’re not quite sure what the four little spanners are for. But it’s good to be prepared.

Here is the whole hastily put together ensemble.  There are also red ‘Tambour Maitre’ tulips and a pink I can’t remember.  I planted out ‘Attila’s Graffiti’ one year from pots, but this doesn’t seem crimson enough.  Any views?

I’ll just leave you with a sad warning of what can happen if your head gets too big. This is ‘Avignon Parrot’. Definitely a dead parrot.

(If you look very carefully you can see that the Euphorbia tried to pass down a spanner or two to help.  It was too late.)

Do have a look at Cathy, Rambling in the Garden‘s site for more In a vase on Monday posts!

Postscript: after an hour, these blooms have opened up and decided to have a Rescue Party. Thought I’d add a couple of photos:

69 Comments Add yours

  1. Tish Farrell says:

    A fine rescue, Ali. Indoor fireworks!

    1. Ali says:

      They are incredible now, Tish! The best emergency rescue ever!

      1. Tish Farrell says:

        Tulips are so good at rearranging and re-shaping themselves once in a vase.

      2. Ali says:

        So obliging of them.

  2. janesmudgeegarden says:

    The convolutions of your imagination seem to be never-ending! This is laugh-aloud stuff.

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Jane! Am happy to share my odd thoughts!

  3. Heyjude says:

    I too am giggling at your imaginative description of the euphorbia! Your tulips look most flamboyant together in their vibrant party dresses – and yes the parrot head is much too large for its body. I have been pondering whether to cut mine and pop them in a vase, but it seems nothing can get them to hold their head up.

    1. Ali says:

      I think they are the biggest parrots I have ever seen! Even before the wind and rain, most had snapped off, so I think it is one step too far in plant breeding!

      1. Heyjude says:

        Certainly the ones I grew many years ago were nothing like as big as these ones. I shall stick to the lily flower ones next year, they are so elegant.

      2. Ali says:

        The lily-flowered ones are stunning aren’t they? And really good value, both for longevity in flowering and in repeating year after year.

  4. pbmgarden says:

    Beautiful tulips Ali. Great observations about euphorbia.

  5. A beautiful bunch – my tulips are currently being battered too, but I am leaving most of them to see if they survive until tomorrow. I rescued a couple of ‘Bleu Aimable’ which were practically horizontal though.
    Love your Euphorbia discovery – I read one of your other posts where you wrote about Euphorbias having lots of little babies. This has happened to mine – what do you do with yours? Dig them up or let them grow?

    1. Ali says:

      ‘Bleu Aimiable’ looks lovely! Might add to my ever-expanding wishlist! I do a bit of both with my Euphorbia, depending on where they are. I have just given my mum a few babies, with a health warning! I started with three little stems and now I have six or seven wild clumps of a metre or more wide (after three years), which gives you an idea how rampant they are! With hindsight I would limit Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae to only the most unfillable places in my garden – deep and dry shade. Other varieties are more polite.

      1. Thanks for the advice. The bleu aimable is a lovely tulip would highly recommend. Goes well with queen of the night.

      2. Ali says:

        Ooh yes, that sounds lovely!

  6. A lovely post Ali. The tulips look great.

    I’m very fond of Euphorbias too but they are amazingly rampant in our garden and need a lot of management.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! The Euphorbia is a bit of a beast, and is definitely encroaching a little too much on a clematis and some lupins. I would advise caution and planting near robust neighbours. But then I am very glad of it at this time of year, both in the garden and for cut stems.

      1. Susan is always wary of planting them because of the phototoxic sap but I have skin like a rhino after years if lab work!

  7. pommepal says:

    I can see the smile on the tulips faces and on mine. I grew euphorbia in NZ and loved it, I must try it again here, though I have not seen it around. I have a feeling it will not like the sub tropics.

    1. Ali says:

      Am not sure which varieties are ok for you, but Euphorbia charachias ‘Wulfenii’ likes Mediterranean conditions.

      1. pommepal says:

        It was Wolfenii I grew in NZ

      2. Ali says:

        Yes, that would make sense. Lovely dinosaur, if a little thuggish.

      3. pommepal says:

        I’m a dinosaur too and it was about 40+ years ago I was gardening in NZ so we certainly suited each other…

  8. Cathy says:

    Oh what a fun post to read – thank you! A great use of words, Ali, and so observant too. Your tulips look delightful, especially at their Emergency Party 🙂 Thanks for sharing

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Cathy!

  9. Nat says:

    With photos like those noone is going to complain about an extra post. Gorgeous.

    1. Ali says:

      Oh good, am glad you enjoyed them, Nat. X

  10. bcparkison says:

    Well I would love this arrangement on my table. I always try to snip before a storm. Really beautiful colors.

    1. Ali says:

      That’s a very good strategy. I just looked out of the window, and we have a small flood at the bottom of the garden! I’ve never seen it quite so high before!

      1. bcparkison says:

        We have had our share of rain this Spring but when it turns off…….

  11. Clare Pooley says:

    That’s all they needed – a little bit of love and bringing indoors! I love the euphorbia’s spanners! I always thought they looked a bit like crab’s pincers but spanners it is from now on!

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, they do look like pincers too! They’re fab, aren’t they?

  12. Peter Herpst says:

    The exuberance of spring in a vase! I adore the color combination you’ve created; the use of the euphorbia is inspired. ‘Avignon Parrot’ is just resting, perhaps pining for the fjords.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, that is a better thought than it being decapitated!

  13. Bravo for a successful rescue! Those are gorgeous and I’m intrigued by the Euphorbia ‘cyathium’ because I have never seen it. This is why I love gardening blogs so much! All the knowledge!

    1. Ali says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Angie!

  14. Jane Lurie says:

    Beautiful close-ups. Just yesterday, I was walking in SF in the Presidio and I pointed out those “disc plants” that you photographed. They were everywhere!

    1. Ali says:

      Ah! I am happy to give them a name, though I do like ‘disc plants’!

      1. Jane Lurie says:

        Do you know the name? I looked them up once and of course, have forgotten. 😊

      2. Ali says:

        Oh sorry, yes! Euphorbia amygdaloides var.robbiae. There’s a post about them here: https://themindfulgardener.blog/2018/04/10/euphorbia-euphoria/

  15. AlisonC says:

    How sad that you had to rescue them from the weather but they look fantastic in the vase especially with the acid green euphorbia. The tulips are delicious colours.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I’m glad now that I did have to rescue them because I’ve enjoyed them so much like this.

  16. Cathy says:

    Wow! Talk about zing! These colours are fantastic together! 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Isn’t it funny? I wouldn’t have chosen them to go together, but it was a happy accident!

  17. Kris P says:

    Your unexpected downpour arrives at our advantage in providing an opportunity to admire your gorgeous tulips. I enjoyed your analysis of the Euphorbia’s inner workings and possible strategy – I, for one, am convinced that many Euphorbias are planning world domination. Even in my garden, currently plagued by drought, they’re attempting a take-over.

    1. Ali says:

      They are certainly survivors, aren’t they?

  18. Emma Cownie says:

    Poor parrot. Looks to be like a very successful rescue party as you can admire the tulips at close quarters now. Beautiful!

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I do love to have flowers on the kitchen table. I feel like I get to know them better!

  19. Rupali says:

    Wow beautiful arrangement.

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Rupali.

  20. Just so gorgeously beautiful colors!!! Your words and the details captured really made this a magical experience 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, you are very kind. 🙂

      1. My pleasure truly 🙂

  21. Robyn Haynes says:

    Your photos are spectacular Ali. I think I’m suffering from tulip envy. Far too hot to grow them here. You have varieties I’ve never seen before. I’m glad they survived. Dear little euphorbias and their spanners!

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks so much, Robyn. But presumably that means that you get the hibiscus, oleander and frangipani?

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        Yes. There are some trade offs Ali.

  22. Spectacular! And the colors are incredible!

    1. Ali says:

      Aren’t they?

  23. These are the type of tulips I love and together with the lime of the euphorbias they look stunning. The euphorbia chat bout tackle made me smile, thanks

    1. Ali says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Dorris!

  24. Sam says:

    This is just my cup of tea (vase)! Beautiful, vibrant tulips offset by the euphorbia – lovely 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Sam! Welcome to the blog!

  25. GJ Stevens says:

    Amazing colours, well rescued!

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