I can’t paint, or draw, and my crafting skills aren’t up to much. The garden is my creative outlet.
More than any other flower, tulips bring out my playfulness. I can play with combinations of tones and textures. I can’t imagine ever getting bored.
For the raised bed closest to the house, I wanted cherry, orange and apricot tones. Let’s call this bed ‘Tutti Frutti’. This is how it looks early in the morning, before I go to work. I love the fresh greens with the light shining through.
‘Slawa’ has become a firm favourite. It reminds me of a blood orange, with its deep red stain on the petals. This picture was taken just as it had opened. The flower is still quite short and tight-fitting at this stage. Newly opened tulip petals have a slightly pallid, waxy quality.
A couple of days in the sun reassure them. They start to trust in the world. They feel the warmth on their petals and just can’t help but open their arms to the sun. They grow taller, stretch their petals wider, develop their true colours. They take on the texture of silk, and let the sun shine through them to illuminate them.
‘Slawa’ is like bold splashes in the foreground of my painting. I love its confidence.
There is subtlety too. Look at the finest detailing at the edges of the cherry-red splash.
It is perhaps even more beautiful inside.
I had one beautiful accident in this painting. I don’t know how this lone star got here, but I am glad she did.
She has the most delicious paint-swirls of all. Blackcurrant swirled through double cream.
I love the oil paint quality of ‘Paul Scherer’. He is satin to his partners’ silk.
There are still a couple of varieties to come. This is ‘Christmas Marvel’. It is a wonderful shimmery satin plum.
And this is ‘Louvre Orange’, a fringed tulip.
In the middle bed, I planted cooler pinks with white and lilac. Iced pinks, if you like.
For depth, I added the near-black ‘Paul Scherer’. Without him, the bed would be a sugary confection. He adds a touch of cassis.
Tulip ‘Blue Diamond’ is ageing beautifully. The edges of the petals are just etched with silver, as if they have been engraved. They shimmer.
Tulip ‘Hot Pants’ is living up to the name. I do love a picotee edge.
The markings are like a lipstick smudge.
The third raised bed of tulips was not planned. These tulips were intended for my bright border. I couldn’t find space between the established plants there. Our clay soil had been hard-baked during the summer, and digging was difficult. To be honest, I ran out of steam, and knew I wouldn’t do a good job of planting them. The easier option by far was to fill a third raised bed.
This is ‘Dolls’ Minuet’, swirling and twirling at the centre of the bed.
And this is one of my all time favourites, ‘Antraciet’.
The colour of ‘Antraciet’ can vary between cherry and deepest, darkest crimson, depending on the light. I tried to capture this difference by adjusting the aperture for this photo.
This is ‘Black Parrot’. You can see how it got its name.
Out of the three beds, my favourite is ‘Tutti Frutti’. I love the colours, and I really packed in the tulip bulbs, giving a fullness and richness.
‘Apricot Parrot’ and ‘Christmas Marvel’ are still ripening, so the painting will change again.
The process, in gardening, is always more important than the end product.
Here are some great splodges of ‘Margarita’ to really illustrate the joy of being a tulip!
I hope you have enjoyed swirling paint colours of tulips. I aim to have fun in the garden, and it is only just starting. Soon there will be peonies, roses, geraniums…
If you would like to receive an email notification when a new post is published (about once per week, usually on Saturday), then scroll down to the very bottom of this page, and click on the big ‘Follow’ button. Your email address will not be shared with any third parties. It will be stored securely, and no spam will be sent. This blog is free because I like sharing what’s going on in my garden. Feel free to share this page on social media, using the buttons below.
For something totally different, you might want to head over to Angela Noel Lawson’s You are Awesome site to read a piece I have written about Leadership. I invite you to explore Angela’s writing. Angela is a natural story-teller, making sharp observations about real life. She balances a career, writing, family life, parenthood, travel… She is incredibly insightful and disarmingly honest. I never miss a post.