Vintage Silk

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.

Tulipa ‘La Belle Epoque’

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.

Tulipa ‘Paul Scherer’

So where were the other two?  I waited.  And waited.  Paul just got more dashing.

Tulipa ‘Paul Scherer’

‘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.

Tulipa ‘La Belle Epoque’ after a night out

Finally, ‘Victoria’s Secret’ decided to put in an appearance.

Tulipa ‘Victoria’s Secret’
Tulips ‘La Belle Epoque’, ‘Victoria’s Secret’, ‘Paul Scherer’ and diminutive ‘Bruine Wimpel’

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:

  1. ‘Ballerina’ (lily-flowered, orange and magenta, elegant, fragrant, long-lasting)
  2. ‘Antraciet’ (peony-flowered, cherry-red, satin-textured, scalloped and feathered edges)
  3. ‘Purple Peony’ (peony-flowered, purple with plum feathering, tremendously fat)
  4. ‘Brown Sugar’ (huge single, burnt orange, magenta, fragrant, changing colours)
  5. ‘Slawa’ (complex tones of burnt orange with a brushstroke of maroon, deeply sophisticated)
  6. ‘Apricot Parrot’ (what it says, huge, wafty feathers)
  7. ‘Jazz’ (lily-flowered, rich pink, elegant, long-lasting)
  8. ‘Marilyn’ (lily-flowered, white with pink brushstrokes, huge, long-lasting)
  9. ‘Louvre’ (fringed, rich pink with tones of lilac and peach, black-purple centre)
  10. ‘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.


36 Comments Add yours

  1. annpappas says:

    Love that Paul Scherer one! I must see what is available here 🙂 Our planting time is March to May but the best time is May, when the weather has cooled down.

    1. Ali says:

      Oh good, am glad the timing worked for you, Ann! I thought I might mix ‘Paul Scherer’ in with some pinks and purples next year.

      1. annpappas says:

        I’ve been checking online and our main bulb supplier, Hadeco, is all sold out! I’ll have to look at our local nurseries but they might not be stocking them because of the drought.

  2. Nichola says:

    The Paul Scherer is absolutely stunning! I must grow more tulips next year I had one in my garden this year which was a forgotten one too! A lovely fitting tribute to all things tulips.

    1. Ali says:

      Ah, it’s funny when you just have one lone tulip, isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed the post, Nichola!

  3. fredgardener says:

    The tulip ‘Paul Scherer’ is beautiful, Ali! Here too, a page has been turned and my last tulips are beginning to be faded… It was a good year for them, was not it?

    1. Ali says:

      It was a weird year, Fred. That 29 degree day meant some went over in a week, but then many others lasted 3 weeks.

  4. Ali says:

    It was a weird year, Fred. That 29 degree day meant some went over in a week, but then many others lasted 3 weeks.

  5. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Well! I see Brown Sugar has been usurped and is now in 4th Place! I’m rather liking La Belle Époque (before she went out).

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, it’s very hard deciding on the top four or five; it is almost a tie, but ‘Ballerina’ was just wonderful for everything: colour, shape, longevity, scent!

  6. Love this tulip 🌷 post . So very pretty

    1. Ali says:

      Tulips do make it easy for me!

  7. pommepal says:

    Tulip time nearly over what a visual and verbal feast it has been. Now I’m looking forward to what your next passion will be.

    1. Ali says:

      Peonies! 😍

      1. pommepal says:

        I’ll look forward to seeing them

  8. bcparkison says:

    Vintage silk….a great way to describe this flower. I think it is lovely.

    1. Ali says:

      You are right. I am spoilt for choice.

  9. Heyjude says:

    I grew Paul Scherer last year and have to agree that it is a beauty. Next year I shall go back to the dark plum and purple along with Ballerina. She does well here. Though I am tempted by some white and yellow ones I saw on a post recently…

  10. I’m not a huge fan of tulips, not sure why. Give me peonies any day…may be I’m a one day wonder! But it’s any day now…..excitement! Lovely 6 and your pots look glorious!

    1. Ali says:

      The wait for peonies always seems a long one. They tease us for weeks with those fat buds!

      1. Almost there…..have one variety out. Hoping to share on 6 on Saturday!

  11. Paddy says:

    Paul Scherer makes me think of blackcurrant ice cream (it must be the warm sunny weather, I obviously have ice cream on the brain today!). I quite like the Bruine Wimpel too, as it proves tulips don’t have to be huge to still show off.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, it is deliciously blackcurranty. I deadheaded one or two yesterday and kept picking up the petals in the bucket because they were just so lovely! You are right with ‘Bruine Wimpel’. In the right pot, on its own, or with smaller friends, it would look lovely.

  12. cavershamjj says:

    Quite like Victoria’s secret. No link in my mind to lingerie. None at all.

  13. Very on trend – love these colours, particularly Belle Époque.

    1. Ali says:

      It is funny how gardening has trends, isn’t it? I suppose it keeps it fresh and exciting.

  14. Wow Ali fantastic photo’s of the Tuilps!

  15. pommepal says:

    G’day Ali I wonder if you would like to take part in the 3 day quote challenge that is doing the rounds. I’m sure you have some lovely quotes to share with us. But no worries, only if you have the time.

  16. Beautiful! I will have to consult a catalog or be spontaneous to pick new tulips when the time comes in the fall. I loved all your tulip posts and look forward to the peonies. 🌷

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you so much. I really appreciate your support.

  17. Love the ‘Paul Scherer’!

  18. Chloris says:

    Ballerina and Brown Sugar are on my top ten list too. And Paul Scherer is fabulous.

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