The cool weather this spring has meant that I have had to wait for the tulips.
The cool weather and lack of sunshine extended their period of unripeness. There was a pregnant pause.
But ever so slowly, they have been stretching out and colouring up.
I have a little walk around the garden before work, and then do the same when I get home, and I can see the difference in a few hours. Ziggy is excited to show me!
Through the day, more and more tulips have emerged.
The long wait was worth it. They are perfect in every way.
I planted three raised beds with different combinations. The bed closest to the house is planted with rich pinks, oranges and warm apricots. The first to appear was ‘Margarita’. This is a delicious tulip. It has tones of apricot and plum within the more obvious pink.
‘Margarita’ was soon joined by ‘Princes Irene’. ‘Princes Irene’ is one of my favourite tulips. I adore the cherry-plum feathering around the outer petals, and the light airiness of the peach tones when the sun shines through. I could gaze at this tulip for hours.
There are deeper, darker tones of plum and burnt orange from ‘Slawa’.
They will soon by joined by ‘Apricot Parrot’ and ‘Apricot Foxx’, and the colour palette will subtley change. I love this developing picture with tulips. Hour by hour, they change.
In the middle bed, I wanted to play with cooler tones of pink. The bluer, lilac tones. Iced pink, if you like.
To balance the pale pastels, I added depth with the darkest tulip, ‘Paul Scherer’.
‘Paul Scherer’ is almost blue-black when fully ripe, and has an intriguing chalky lilac tinge when unripe. This is the joy of having to wait for your tulips: you get to know them intimately.
If you peer inside a tulip, you will find that each one has a mandala. A kaleidoscope, unique to this variety. There are often shocking tones of blue or green a the very base of the tulip, in a six-pointed star. There are six dark stamens, and a tricorn stigma at the very centre. This startling clarity contrasted with the swirling paint inside the petals is mesmerising.
The pattern inside a double tulip is partially obscured by the generosity of petals, but when the sun comes out, the petals relax, and you get a hint of what is inside. I adore this mauve smudge deep inside ‘Blue Diamond’.
In the third bed, furthest from the house, I have planted three old favourites. Darkest ‘Black Parrot’, cherry red ‘Antraciet’ and magenta and green ‘Dolls’ Minuet’.
‘Dolls’ Minuet’ is not fully out yet, but I am enjoying these tones: the pink just touched with orange.
I will return to this bed next week, when it will be at its best.
Before I go, I thought I would share with you a special tulip birth. I noticed this strange shape in one of my pots at the front of the house.
On closer inspection, I found that the tulip flower had grown into a tightly-curled leaf. The flower bud was swelling, but had nowhere to go. The leaf had split with the force of the flower’s growth, and the flower bud was left with the cap of a leaf on its head, rather like a caul. It was so tightly stuck, I had to intervene. I carefully peeled away the leaf (you can see how tight it was!) and the flower emerged unscathed.
The birth of the tulips has been laboured and slow this year, but their emergence has been triumphant.
Like all newborns, these tulips will change every day. Already they are taller, fatter, fuller. I hope you will come back soon to see how the picture has evolved.
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