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.
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. 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 the 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.
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.
‘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.
‘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!