As you may have noticed, I have a thing for bright and deeply saturated colour. But I have other weaknesses too. Back in autumn I was seduced by a certain supplier of tulip bulbs and gave into temptation. I decided to try some sun-faded tones: vintage silk alongside my usual velvet and satin.
I selected four varieties to grow together in pots at the front of the house. First to flower was ‘La Belle Epoque’. She is lovely, but I prefer to gaze into her complex depths at the centre of the flower, where the plum and apricot tones are stronger. Her outer petals seem dimmed, as if her natural glow is being masked in foundation and blusher.
I waited for the others to catch up. Quite a long time. But then came ‘Paul Scherer’. He is a new favourite, with his swirly blackcurrant and laser-cut edges.
So where were the other two? I waited. And waited. Paul just got more dashing.
‘La Belle’ started to look a bit tired and emotional. To give her her due, she has seen heatwaves, storms and frost. She was the first out and may be the last one standing.
Finally, ‘Victoria’s Secret’ decided to put in an appearance.
But I’m still waiting for ‘Bruine Wimpel’. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. It is now flowering, but is not making much of an impact. Can you see the poor little things, cowering in the shadows of ‘Victoria’s Secret?’ I suppose the clue was in the name (brown wimple). Maybe I should pay more attention to height and flowering times, next year?
There is no substitute to growing and getting to know a tulip. Whilst I am reasonably happy with this combination of plush velvets with vintage silk (like a dressing up box in the attic) I think I will be back to vibrant jewel-tones next year.
This is absolutely my last tulip post! At the end of the season, this is my 2018 Top Ten Tulips:
- ‘Ballerina’ (lily-flowered, orange and magenta, elegant, fragrant, long-lasting)
- ‘Antraciet’ (peony-flowered, cherry-red, satin-textured, scalloped and feathered edges)
- ‘Purple Peony’ (peony-flowered, purple with plum feathering, tremendously fat)
- ‘Brown Sugar’ (huge single, burnt orange, magenta, fragrant, changing colours)
- ‘Slawa’ (complex tones of burnt orange with a brushstroke of maroon, deeply sophisticated)
- ‘Apricot Parrot’ (what it says, huge, wafty feathers)
- ‘Jazz’ (lily-flowered, rich pink, elegant, long-lasting)
- ‘Marilyn’ (lily-flowered, white with pink brushstrokes, huge, long-lasting)
- ‘Louvre’ (fringed, rich pink with tones of lilac and peach, black-purple centre)
- ‘Black Parrot’ (parrot, deepest plum-black, gorgeous in the morning or evening sun and in combination with any other tulip)
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Gardening brings me a sense of wonder throughout the year, and I aim to share this with my readers. Life is full of care, and we need to balance our worries with wonder. Feel free to share this post via social media or email (by clicking the icons below) to spread the joy.