The tulip season has been glorious. Each day, since the first bloom appeared on March 21st not a day has passed without rejoice in their beauty. It is, sadly, approaching its end. So now it is time to evaluate their performance, and while the remembrance of their loveliness still shines bright in my mind, to make my order for this fall’s planting.
The first tulip to bloom was a species, T. biflora, which has been cultivated since 1776 or before. It is only 5″ and while the catalog said it was fragrant, I couldn’t detect any scent. At first I was disappointed in their bloom, and thought, if that’s all there is, I won’t keep them. However, those first brave souls may have been affected by March weather. They only had a single flower and the yellow center was barely noticeable. Those that were a bit slower (as in the above photo) were much prettier, and often sent up several flowers, forming a tiny bouquet. Perfect for fairies! And, the final blooms faded on April 18th, so that’s a fairly long show, almost a month. I’ll keep them, but I won’t order more.
The next tulip to bloom was “Apricot Emperor,” which began on April 6 and finished on April 25. They are the front/left goup and repeated midway down the border. Not bad, and they were the only thing blooming in the garden in front of the house, so I need to plant more. The flowers are large and a beautiful apricot color, but my biggest complaint is that the foliage is massive, and it is going to be difficult to hide or ignore until it disappears. I’ll have to work carefully on placement.
A tulip I loved to look at was T. Greigii, “Elise.” I loved the color. It’s creamy apricot blooms held their shape, and their mottled foliage was attractive. They were perfect for my color scheme, and as soon as I saw them open, I but stars beside their journal entry. You can see from the tiny size of the lettuce that they began blooming early, on April 11. However, “Elise” is brief, lasting only 6 days before shedding their petals, and there were no weather problems. What a disappointment.
Next was a Triumph type, “Salmon Pearl,” which was listed as “carmine rose, coral edge, yellow base,” and fragrant. Again, I couldn’t detect a scent. You can see them in the Apricot Emperor photo, just to the right of the first clump. They bloomed from April 14-26, but I won’t order more because the rose was too prominent, and became more pronounced as they matured.
“Apricot Impression” opened on April 15, described as a “persimmon with pink glow.” It’s a Darwin, but the pink “glow” was much more than a glow…just too pink for me. It also faded really fast to beige, and ended May 4, which is a decent time period, but too long for me to look at pink or beige!
“Princess Irene,” a fragrant orange sherbet with warm lavender opened April 16. I would describe the orange as much brighter than “orange sherbet.” It’s more like a real orange, especially at the base, and I like it! At only 12″ she is petite, but durable. She’s still holding onto her petals as of May 9th, and has only slightly faded. She gets three stars, and I’ll definitely order more.
On that same day, “Orange Princess” opened, the bright orange right in front. She’s a bit more showy, since she is a peony-flowered tulip, but as you can see, is a nice orange with purple and green flamed petals that were slow to fade, lasting until May 4th. I really liked them both.
April 18th brought forth an amazing tulip, a multi-flowered one called “Antoinette.” She opens pale yellow with soft raspberry highlights (like the one in the center.) Each bulb produces a bouquet of flowers. All the blooms shown in this photo are from 2 bulbs!!! And they last and last. As each bloom matures, however, it turns the deep raspberry shown, not the “salmon-orange” that was stated in the catalog. Everyone has exclaimed over their beauty, and they are pretty….very pretty. But, they are deep raspberry rose. Again, too pink for my tastes. As of May 9th, they are showing no signs of fading at all, so if you like pink, they would be a great addition to your garden.
April 19 is a starred date. “Charming Beauty” stole my gardener’s heart. This peony-flowered, fragrant, pale apricot bloom is indeed charming and beautiful. The catalog says it will darken to apricot orange, but there’s no sign of that yet. I will love it no matter what happens. The little bee in the center loves it, too. I’m order more…..lots more!
“Aleppo,” with its fringed petals opened on April 23rd and the last one is shown in the photo above, taken today, May 9th. It is pretty and the fringe draws comments, but I probably won’t order more, although two weeks is not bad. It’s apricot-orange petals lightened to soft tangerine at the fringes. I should probably give it more consideration.
I saw “Blushing Beauty” in Holland, and while it has more rose than I prefer, the soft yellow, lily-shaped blooms began on April 23 and are still lovely. They really are more creamy yellow than the white in my photo. I definitely need more, especially because they are tall (30″) so they can be planted behind perennials to hide their foliage, but their blooms are still easily seen.
Definitely ordering more T. “Dordogne.” I saw these at the big tulip festival at Keukenhoff, too, and put them on my list. They deer ate several before I sprayed repellent, but those that bloomed have been magnificent. Tall, strong stems hold a bloom that is “rose blending to tangerine” but the overall effect is not too pink. Since they are tall, the foliage can be hidden behind other plants. It is absolutely lovely and will grace more parts of my gardens next spring. They began April 25 and are still perfect.
The last tulip to review is outstanding. Although small, T. batalini “Bright Gem” has been stealing the show in the potager since April 18th. I planted 100, mostly along the edges of of the north-south central path.
They began opening their walnut-sized pale yellow blooms right at soil level. Gradually, over the weeks, a stem appeared and the flowers eventually rose to their full height of 5″. They glisten. Everyone loves them. They are just so darn cute, and none of my photos do them any justice. I’m going to get more to use along the front of various beds around the house. The foliage is very narrow, and won’t be noticeable or long to wither. It’s definitely a winner. I ordered it’s sister, “Salmon Gem” but they did not arrive. Hopefully I can get them for the front edge of the south interior border.
In case you read my tulip order post last fall, there were in fact, several varieties that I ordered that did not arrive. Although I thought I was placing my order in a timely fashion, several varieties were already out of stock. I won’t make that mistake again. I’m placing my order in the next week or two. When the new catalog comes, I’ll check if for any new offers and make additions, but those winners I really want will already be in the company’s computer, so hopefully I’ll get them this fall! Keeping good records is helping me make wise choices, so I get more bang for my bulb buck!
who knew there were so many beautiful tulips? thank you Carolee, for all this great information.