I think it’s time for a bit of loud celebration and joyousness…
I bought these orange tulips, I freely admit, because they were cheap. A week later, Alys Fowler condemned them in the Guardian as unsubtle. And she’s right: subtle, they’re not. But I didn’t want subtle, excuse me; I wanted loud and bright and bouncy and cheerful. And that’s exactly what I got.
And I wanted something which would work next to the stonework and the colour of my doors (ahem, it needs patching up – it’s the weather; straight off the sea and slap into the front door).
I thought orange would work, based on the classic colour wheel, and it did. I’ve had red ones here – they’re OK – and white and pink stripes and a mixture of white and Queen of the Night (but that one really didn’t – I had to move them, and then they came into their own).
I do enjoy my pots of tulips, and once they’re over I plant them out. Sometimes it’s successful and sometimes it isn’t. Shrug.
This year, though, I’m going to try something different. Inspired by Karen of the Artist’s Garden, I’m going to enlarge the bed around my sundial and do some tulip consolidation. Some are already happily ensconced there:
but they can accommodate a few friends, I’m sure. And these are, for some reason, gradually moderating in colour – the stripes are getting less pronounced. Or maybe some of the bulbs haven’t survived?
I’m not sure, but I don’t much care because I think I prefer the less emphatic versions. They’ll certainly be happier with some of the tulips I’m intending to move.
(Er – I mean they’ll work better. They seem quite happy as it is, thank you.)
This parrot tulip is a stray; it comes up every year just below one of my ash trees, and I think it must be left over from the Wing Commander’s days in this garden (he died about twenty years ago). Apparently he had a thing for unusual tulips, bought some for pots every year and then planted them out and let them take their chance, exactly as I do. A few have survived – some yellows which are unfortunately under a giant builders’ sack of chippings due to bad planning on my part, another pink or two – and I shall rootle them out and move them. Hopefully without any accompanying dandelions.
Also into the bed will go these lovelies.
I can’t remember what they are, either. (I have a mid-year resolution which I have just implemented: keep the damn labels, you great nellie.)
I’ll add some whites, a few stray reds and my Queen of the Nights, and we’ll see how they do. Karen’s mixed tulip bed, which hopefully she will blog about, shows that all sorts of colours work perfectly well together. We shall see.
Some I’m not moving, though. I have some with red and yellow stripes which work very well indeed with the new leaves on a small acer,
though this year the timing didn’t quite work out due to the burst of warm insanity in March and they had to go with the primroses instead.
The species tulips are staying firmly put, as well. In theory they are in a bed at the front of the house because I walk past it every day on my commute down to the basement office, and it’s an ideal spot for them; they don’t get swamped by other things and their beauty is obvious as you look down on them directly. In theory.
Hmm. It is only a theory. I have to say that though my tulips in general have been excellent this year, when they weren’t being eaten, the species tulips – notably my T.tarda, which I couldn’t photograph because they’ve not flowered at all – haven’t been that good. Why, who can tell. They were the only tulips that hadn’t been chewed, as well (when they appeared at all, ahem).
Karen has a tulip theory too: that you grow into them, that you have to have a certain amount of maturity before you can really appreciate them. I’m not sure I entirely agree; I’ve always liked them, and though I’ve not really had them in the garden until recently, I’ve always had them in pots. What do you think?