We’ve hit the high point of Tulip season in our garden.


Here’s a view of the Driveway Border. This is where, following the ravages of sewer repair last fall, I replanted a whole area with Tulips and Narcissus. I’m feeling now that the effort was a definite success.

Those are Celandine Poppies blooming in the background.

For Judy and me, the stars of the Tulip ensemble are ‘Princess Irene’ and ‘Ballerina’ – both are orange, but with delicate and complex overtones of other colors.


This is ‘Princess Irene’. The orange petals are marked with flames of soft purple. I just love looking at this Tulip.


This is ‘Ballerina’. While ‘Princess Irene’ has goblet-shaped blooms, ‘Ballerina’ has pointed petals with a hint of scarlet that runs up the center.Β  The buds are also narrowly pointed.


The new Tulips were interplanted with three kinds of Narcissi. Of these, ‘Sailboat’ is the first to bloom. It has a soft yellow crown and white perianth. It is scattered through the picture above.


They say that you should be careful of having too much orange in theΒ  garden. Nonsense, I say. The hot-colored Tulips mix very nicely with the soft hues of ‘Sailboat’.


Another Tulip in this mix, and the one that is latest to bloom, is ‘Couleur Cardinal,’ at the top center above. This is another Tulip with coloring that I love – deep red, flushed with purple.


Now, one thing that did not go according to plan with this mix is the sequence of Tulip blooms. ‘Princess Irene’ and ‘Couleur Cardinal’ are both Single Earlies. They were supposed to bloom at the same time, and ‘Ballerina’ was supposed to bloom late. That didn’t happen at all, though. These bulbs just feel free to ignore the catalogs.

It’s not entirely the bulbs’ fault, though. Unusual spring weather and the conditions in each bed has something to do with it. But still.

‘Princess Irene’ underplanted with ‘Hawera’

Just as ‘Sailboat’ peaks, Narcissus ‘Hawera’ begins its bloom period. The late Allen Lacy considered ‘Hawera’ to be the perfect Daffodil, the one he would choose if he could have just one variety.

Narcissus ‘Hawera’

‘Hawera’ is a late-blooming Narcissus, about 8-10″ tall, with 4-9 stems per bulb, and cute little nodding yellow flowers.


The other Tulips in our mix are ‘Parade,’ which makes me think of big red poppies, and ‘Helmar.’ Here they are in the Parkway Bed, complementing each other nicely with contrasting colors and heights.


‘Helmar’ has the most amazing ruby-red flames on golden yellow petals.

I should mention that all these Tulip varieties are described as fairly long-lived in Jacqueline van der Kloet’s book Colour Your Garden.

Parkway Bed

‘Sailboat’ provides a nice background for both. We interplanted Narcissi with Tulips in order to deter rabbits. Rabbits love Tulips, but Daffodils are toxic to all rodents. At least for this year, the strategy worked brilliantly – as far as I can tell, I only lost two Tulips to the long-eared devils. Rabbits are adaptive, though, so I’ll be interested to see if this approach is just as effective in future years.


Another picture of the Parkway Bed, because I can.

OK, I am now tuckered out from talking about Tulips – and I haven’t even gotten to the late-blooming species tulips. However, that will have to wait for another day.

Until then, make the most of spring while it lasts!

68 Comments on “Parade of Tulips”

  1. I only remember single color tulips from my days in tulip country, and no fancy edges. Was that a matter of my mother’s preferences, or are some of these hybrids that have been more recently developed (‘more recent’ being less than fifty years ago)?

  2. Your tulips and daffodils (and others) are looking stunning! I love Princess Irene, the orange with a streak of purple is lovely. Red tulips are also wonderful in the garden, they never fail to impress! I’m sure the neighbours must enjoy your spring display, and nice to have something cheerful to look at, especially these days!

  3. Now THIS is what spring should look like! Congratulations on this gorgeous display! As I went from photo to photo, I kept marveling at how so many tulips survived the rabbits, so I was glad of your explanation at the end. I hope the rabbits never adapt!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed your Tulip Parade. Can’t say enough about tulips this time of year. They are a joy with these rich colors. There are no tulips left in my garden. We are on to other blooms. This cold will stop everything in its tracks I am afraid.

  5. It’s too beautiful for words! I would love to have such a display of gorgeousness in my yard. What are the little blue flowers that appear in several of the photos?

  6. Orange is my second least favorite color, after purple, but it, with yellow, was the main color in the front yard where I lived in town. It just happened to fit the building very well. There was no white out front, because it would have looked trashy. Orange and yellow just worked.

  7. Looks fantastic! It is definitely effective to make the effort and plant in large numbers. And I love the oranges and reds. Couleur Cardinal is very nice. I could quite happily have looked at many more photos if you ever feel like making a slideshow perhaps? πŸ˜‰

  8. Spectacular show! You can never have too much orange in the garden; β€˜Princess Irene’ knocked my socks off! The parkway bed, often called the hell strip, looks heavenly to me!

  9. You’ve done some gorgeous garden design with your tulips! I think I don’t like orange and red, but then I see them in tulips, and how beautiful they look when the sun shines luminously through them, and, oh, my heart stops for every so brief a moment! My tulips have also not read the catalogs this year and are blooming when they feel like it. Maybe ‘Hawera’ will have to be one of my new narcissi this fall–always nice to have some late bloomers to complement the tulips!

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