Tulip Update

So there’s good news and bad news on the Tulip front.

DSC_0685We can start with the good news. First off, enough Tulips made it through winter to provide us with a nice display for the walk to the front door.

DSC_0639Also, some of the new varieties I tried are definite winners, especially ‘Suncatcher’, above. This one will definitely be included in this fall’s order.

DSC_0620I was also impressed with ‘Dordogne’.

DSC_0638Here’s ‘Suncatcher’ with purple ‘Pittsburgh’, which was also pretty nice.

DSC_0656And the old favorites displayed their magic for another season. To the right is the Lily flowering Tulip ‘Ballerina’, behind a single ‘Dordogne’.

DSC_0648And ‘Princess Irene’ … what more can be said of this enchanting Tulip? Perhaps only that she exemplifies why Tulips must sometimes be planted to allow for close examination, and not just in masses of color (not that I’m against masses of color).

DSC_0658And ‘Couleur Cardinal’ – bold yet subtle, with its scarlet red flushed with purple. I love this one, too.

DSC_0682Also, last fall I planted some of that year’s container tulips into the Parkway Bed, to see if they would give me another year of blooms. Some of them have indeed arisen to flower again, like these ‘Ballerina’ dancing among the Daffodils.

DSC_0661Finally, I noticed that Tulipa clusiana ‘Lady Jane’ is naturalizing among the Alliums in the Left Bank Bed. I think of this as the Candy Cane Tulip because of the coloring.

The bad news is that at least half of my container Tulips failed to bloom this spring. A number of pots had only two or three Tulips (I usually plant around a dozen). Normally at least 80% of the bulbs come through the winter just fine.

I can only conclude that my method of storage, which I used for the first time, is at fault. The Tulip containers were left against the south wall of the house and covered with chicken wire and leaves. This must have exposed the bulbs to too much moisture and inadequate insulation, a deadly combo.

In the past I have either kept the pots in the garage or buried them in the vegetable bed. For this winter, I think I’ll go back to storing the pots in the garage. We’ll see how that goes. But I will certainly not put away my Tulip obsession.

46 Comments on “Tulip Update

  1. I share your obsession with tulips and it is very handy for me to get tips/inspiration as we are off to the garden centre to buy and begin planting bulbs, right now. I think the Suncatcher looks very nice with the Pittsburgh in the background, and I love (them all) but especially Couleur Cardinal…they look like velvet. Bad news to lose some bulbs… that is gardening for you!

    • I agree with you about ‘Suncatcher’ and ‘Pittsburgh’, but still I think I won’t order ‘Pittsburgh again. I think I want to stick with plants in the red-yellow-orange spectrum.

  2. You have such beautiful tulips here. They almost inspire me to get some of these gorgeous colors. Suncatcher is yummy.

  3. My tulips are but a distant memory out here in zone 9, but I sure enjoyed them this year and have plans to increase the display next year. Sadly Princess Irene does not seem to like it at my house -I’ve tried her twice I think. I treat them as annuals in any case and dig them up and buy new ones every year. I figure for the price of a nice dinner out I can have two or three weeks of enjoyment from the best ‘winter over’ signpost I know !

  4. Beautiful colors! If storing in the garage though, do you spritz them from time to time? When do you bring them out again? I love those wee white flowers in the pots, what are they?

    • I make sure they are thoroughly moist when I put them in the garage. Then I do check to make sure they don’t get too dry.

  5. I’m very sorry that so many of your tulips didn’t bloom, but, oh that Princess Irene!

  6. We try, we succeed, we fail. I just hope we learn the right lesson. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  7. I had some losses this year too which I think was because I used my own compost and it wasn’t free draining enough. I like Dordogne but it looks very similar to Menton, which I have and will offer again this autumn.

  8. A valuable lesson learned – but if we don’t experiment with different methods, we may miss out on the winners.

    That Princess Irene is a knockout! I’ll be keeping my eye out for that one as I WANT it!

  9. Jason, I’ve looked repeatedly at the photos of Princess Irene and Couleur Cardinal to see if I could plant them together. the combo would either be fabulous or a glaring error and as excellent as your photos are, I can’t judge. What do you say, together or separate?

    • Jason and I discussed this and had different opinions. He says each flower is so beautiful on its own, why would you think of combining? I eyed them closely and see his point, but also think they might work together. They are certainly both complex. The colors, I think, work okay together, but don’t holler to be mixed, to me, at least. Not sure I’m being helpful!

      • Yes, your reply is very helpful. What I hear is that keeping them apart is the better way to go, although since the colours don’t fight, seeing them at the same time would be fine. So that’s what I think I will do.

    • I would just add to Judy’s response that I feel that both of these varieties have such rich color that it could be overwhelming to mix them. I think they are better appreciated separately.

  10. Red, yellow, and orange are some of my favorite colors so these tulips are winners in my book. It’s always hard when you lose plants especially when you put so much effort into them.\, nut then you have next year to try again.

  11. wow, princess irene is very impressive. But so are all others. too sad, not all came to bloom

  12. A lovely display. Suncatcher really is pretty, especially next to the purple ones. They must all look lovely as you walk up to the front door!

  13. I like to stare at every bloom close up. So glad you got tulips, and some beauties at that. Good to hear some are spreading naturally too, I do love tulips but rarely get a second year out of them so it seems such a waste buying bulbs each year, I always will though as I love them. You have some very exotic colours this year, I shall look out for them.xxx

    • It’s a bit of an indulgence but i do buy new bulbs every year for the pots. The species tulips tend to be reliably perennial.

  14. Those are very, very lovely tulips, Jason. Drainage is problem, as well as pocket gophers, where we are. We get a lot of rain between autumn and spring. I think I will try tulips in more planters next year. Putting gravel in the bottom of the planter may help.

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