An Extra Early ‘Early Harvest’

Here it is only April 5th, and tulips are blooming in our garden. Fittingly, they are called ‘Early Harvest’ tulips.

Early Harvest tulips
‘Early Harvest’ tulips glowing in the late afternoon sun. I planted 25 in the Left Bank Bed, and wish I had planted about 250.

‘Early Harvest’ are Kaufmannianas, a tribe of tulips that are tough, cheerful, and short (about 8″). They are also more perennial than most hybrid tulips and are inclined to naturalize in the right spot.

Early Harvest tulips

This is the second spring in which we have enjoyed ‘Early Harvest’ in the garden. They seem to be blooming about 10 days sooner this year as opposed to last – though only the ones planted in the Left Bank Bed and the Lamppost Bed. The ones in containers have not yet started to flower.

‘Early Harvest’ is a bright orange-scarlet, a color mix I find impossible to resist.

Victim of evil rabbits.

The only bad news I have regarding this pioneer of early spring is that some of the have been eaten by rabbits. We have a surplus of rabbits but for some reason in the past they have left the tulips alone. Not this year, though.


This is a tulip that brings warmth to the chilly days of early April – a valuable quality in a flower or a person.

60 Comments on “An Extra Early ‘Early Harvest’

  1. Oh, I’ve got to find some of these for next year. Short and orange is just the ticket for me!

  2. Oh geez if anyone knows a surefire rabbit repellent, please share. I had beautiful tulips until last year when they ate the shoots just as they came out of ground, I’ve tried commercial stuff, garlic hot pepper just seasons it for them.

  3. It’s a good colour. I have had problems with rabbits this year. There is only one border they can access and they have mown down the Crocus and are now hitting the Hemerocallis. They have also undermined the hedge, so once I have completed all the “funner” (my kids’ word – reckon it pretty much covers how I feel about this) things, I’ll set about preserving what’s left of the border and encouraging the rabbits to feast elsewhere.

    • I sometimes wonder if rabbits have food fads like human foodies do. For instance, one year Crocuses are “in”, the next year it’s Amelanchier bark or Woodland Phlox.

  4. Guess I should take a break from swearing at the gophers and give thanks that we have no rabbits. They must not have LOVED your tulips for so many to have survived.

  5. Your tulips are beautiful! I planted a mix of orange, pink, and yellow (35 in all), and they are a delight to the soul, although they are ALL yellow except for one lone pink one. I’m in Richmond, VA and they are now nearing the end of their time for this year. What can you tell me about tulips that come back again and again? I’ve heard that most won’t come back, but that some do. Is there a rule to follow? Thanks for any help you can provide.

    • Hi Jeanette. Some tulips are more perennial than others. Kaufmannianas like ‘Early Harvest’ tend to be more perennial, as are the Giant Darwin Hybrids. Also many of the species tulips, which have smaller flowers, are perennial – for example Tulipa turkestanica.

      • Thank you for the information. I appreciate it. I will look for the types you mentioned next fall when I buy more.

  6. That is a great color on your ‘Early Harvest’ tulips. Beautiful. Here, the deer love tulips and what the deer love, they take. Spring is early here also by 5-10 days.

  7. Beautiful tulips + wascally wabbits = a bad scene. Why so many rabbits in your area, I wonder?

  8. Gorgeous color! I especially love tulips that are more perennial and naturalize. I’m going to put those on my list for fall planting.

    Great rabbit deterrent that I’ve been using for years now: Liquid Fence. A mixture of blood and rotten eggs, it makes the rabbits avoid the area because they believe a predator has killed there. For human, it smells bad for about 1/2 hour after spraying, but the rabbits will smell it much longer. After a few applications, they learn to stay away. Works really well.

  9. Lovely aren’ t they? If rabbits poke their little twitchy noses in my garden they get short shrift.

    • I just read about your rabbit hunting cat. You don’t suppose he or she would like to visit Chicago for a few weeks, do you?

  10. Very nice! We planted tulips for the first time last autumn here in Middle Tennessee and it was so warm in December that some of the bulbs sprouted then!

    Those early sprouters suffered herbivore damage (I’m guessing deer, but it could have been rabbits…or groundhogs…or ?). The later-blooming ‘Queen of the Night’ tulips that did not start blooming until late March seem to have been spared any herbivore damage at all.

    Rabbits did however repeatedly attack my Indian pinks last year (Spigelia marilandica). They kept eating them back to the point where I think they may have killed two out of three clumps. It’s a real pity because Indian pinks are otherwise great native Southeastern plants that would probably have attracted hummingbirds. (They’re native into Illinois too, but just the southern part of the state –

    • That’s interesting, because I also grow Indian Pinks but have not yet had problems with rabbits. Only a matter of time, I bet.

  11. I can see why you want to plant 250 of them. They are just majestic. Perhaps I should look into this and plant in my garden as well. But I have a big problem of deers, rabbits and squirrels eating all these. I spray Deer Out and that helps against the deers.

    • Sorry to hear that, as deer can be so much more destructive than rabbits. There are some bulbs deer will not eat, such as Narcissi, Snowdrops, and Alliums.

  12. Seeing the destruction of your tulips I now know what got a hold of my tulips. I have so few and the rotten rabbits destroyed them. WHINE

  13. They’re beautiful! Maybe a dose of hot sauce would keep the rabbits away and it would be the same color as the petals so you wouldn’t even notice it!

  14. Oh yeah, I see that rabbits discovered them. Of course. I’m surprised they didn’t chew the plants down to the ground. The rabbits do seem to “learn” to discover new smorgasbords and to work around barriers. By the way, I’ve tried Liquid Fence and it doesn’t work for me. Plus, it has to be re-applied after rain. But some people swear by it. The only thing that seems to work is to plant rabbit-repellent plants around the perimeter of the ones they like–like Daffodils around Tulips. And of course chicken wire works, too. Or potted Tulips. ‘Early Harvest’ is lovely.

    • Actually, I noticed that the tulips growing near alliums were left unmolested. I wonder if the smell of the alliums protected the tulips?

  15. I like the idea of short stemmed tulips, mine are in a windy spot and sometimes break off…I’ll look out for this variety.

    • Not much damage to the tulips here, most aren’t too far along and Early Harvest is hardy in the extreme. Early daffodils are another story, though.

  16. Jason, I have a bit of bad news to pass your way. I know you were rather close to blogger Patrick Muir of Patrick’s Garden, as you both read each others blog. He passed away on Tuesday. I found out on Tuesday, but was very troubled by the news. He was a great guy. I have been very sad by this news as we have corresponded by email over the years. I even told him about your blog and that he should get in touch with you on a project he was proposing where I did not feel right for the job. A Requiem Mass for Patrick will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, 2016 in Kansas.

    This news comes on the heels (November 2015) of another blogger, rather young like him at 50, died after a long stay in intensive care for an illness of which they thought she would recover. You may have known her too, Pat from Bailey Road. Please delete this message if you find it not something to share wit your readers.

  17. I’m going to look out for these to plant in some tubs. They’re lovely. Warmth on chilly days is always a Good Thing.

  18. You know I love these too Jason. Mine are just going over now after we had a couple of really warm days… back to chilly winds again now though!

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