Tiptoe through the tulips with me

North Garden tulips and all the daffodilsWe scheme and we plan and we cross our fingers and we hope for a succession of blooms and then when everything blooms at once we say “Oh — Wow.”  There’s a brilliant carpet of daffodils still – if you squint a little it’s possible to imagine that some haven’t started to go by – and the tulips have started blooming in earnest – more abundantly than we thought after the deer graze and a little earlier than we intended. The tulips and daffs are beautiful together.Daff cam 4-28-09

Late last July, Gail and Lilah made the final tulip order decisions – without me – and I have to say, they done good. For the Rose Garden, they chose Apricot Giant and Big Chief which I, without knowing what they intended, planted as a mix. It’s gorgeous! They did clash a little last week with the Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ but then they weren’t really supposed to bloom together…

Tulipa 'Big Chief' and 'Apricot Giant' by the MoongateMagnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel' and clashing tulips

North Garden tulipsThe North Garden tulips aren’t all open yet but the ones that are, are a bit of a mixed bag. Apricot Beauty is a standby favorite and it didn’t disappoint. We mixed Amazone with it which is just starting to open and promises to be a deeper orange/green apricot that I think is destined to become one of my new faves. Cistula is supposed to be a pale yellow and it’s blazing hot (could it have reverted?) – but thankfully, it works anyway because of the daffodil echo. Dreaming Maid is more pink than the catalog pictures let on – we wanted it to be lavender and we’re still waiting on Formosa and Black Hero (which we know we love).

The tulip trials in the Cutting Garden are tu gorgeous. We wondered what color(s) Gudoshnik would be…

Tulipa 'Gudoshnik'

I’ve picked my winners in the lavender contest – Jackpot hits it and so does Violet Beauty so far – not all of the contestants have opened yet. Fringed Family (in the middle of the family portrait) is decidedly, definitely pink.

Lavender/violet tulipsTulipa 'Jackpot'Tulipa 'Violet Beauty'

I have a winner for the yellows too:  I can see using Yellow Mountain in the North Garden next year…

Yellow/Orange trialsTulipa 'Yellow Mountain'

And my choices for the North Garden, which were overruled and relegated to a Cutting Garden plot, are quite a nice combo so far too, if I may say, and definitely contenders for next year’s North Garden display.  Pimpernel is the red, Annie Schilder is the orange, and of course Spring Green is the excellent green.  Bleu Aimable – supposed to be lavender – is still biding its time. Perhaps this year, before they all go by, we’ll make a few combination bouquets and take pictures so that we’ll (with Lilah’s help again, of course) agonize less over the order come July.

Tulipa 'Pimpernel' and 'Annie Schilder'Tulipa 'Spring Green'

Are your tulips blooming? Any surprises? Any favorites?

5 thoughts on “Tiptoe through the tulips with me

  1. My 6 year old son wanted to know where the photos of “the platform above the water,”were. The shore line and pond were his favorite features on our visit last Spring, so much so that he fell in!

    Christine, your son’s request has my mystified… Does he mean the dock? There’s a picture in this post that shows it almost covered by a tide. I hope he didn’t mind getting wet! (brrrr!) -kris

  2. This year ‘Blushing Lady’ won hands down. California orange with rosy pink flames that compliment the orangey-yellow perfectly. I planted only 50 this year in the cutting garden; next year it’ll be a full 100.

    Susan, Blushing Lady looks like a beaut – we’ll have to add it to our list. And if you like enormous tulips, Dordogne is in the same orange pink range (though flameless). -kris

  3. Nice varieties! I’m not a huge tulip fan, but your apricot mixes are making me think twice about that. We have surprises, yes! A previous owner planted a bunch in the middle of the backyard! They are shocking yellow and red. There are 2 more bunches coming up, one on the inside and one on the outside of Buddy’s fence. No doubt red and yellow. I think I will cut them to take for our dinner hosts tomorrow night, even though they are pretty cheerful back there. p.s. I SO want a moongate!

    Lynn, It sounds like you have our (least) favorite combo of mustard and yellow – why not throw in some orangey apricot? (Amazone!) And I’m with you wanting a moongate for my garden – I definitely need something to remind me to be reverent when I enter it! (The moongate is low enough to make everyone bow when they walk through.) -kris

  4. Quite the selection! My own experience with Dreaming Maid is that it starts out much pinker and only goes lilac toward the end. I would not call Bleu Aimable lavender, exactly, it’s darker than that, at least in my soil; more like light violet. I am also an Annie Schilder fan (and AS seems to have a knack for returning, which is always nice). The few years when I have not had Apricot Beauty, I have been sorry. If you like apricot tulips, conisder Menton, which blooms later than AB and can carry on the season. Looking into them is almost like staring through those Easter eggs that used to have little colored scenes in them. Menton is tall and egg-shaped, not fragrant like AB but also an heirloom. My Formosa totally refused to open this year, I did plant them late; we might have had hot weather when they were trying to emerge.

    Pomona, You’re quite right about Dreaming Maid – it has become more purple and we’re still waiting for Bleu Aimable which does look like the buds are darkening (I couldn’t remember even though that was one of my picks). AND you’re right about Menton – we love that one. Not only are the blooms egg shaped but they’re the size of those eggs hosiery used to be packaged in! And we decided that Formosa, being so late, sort of disappears into the other yellow/greens of the growing garden. Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your love of tulips! -kris

  5. Dear Kris,
    Have just returned this morning from 10 days in Normandy and Loire Valley. Sorry. OMG, really was blown away by the plantings at Giverny and at a new garden at blissful Chateau Cheverny. Anyone else seen it? Don’t miss it, anyone planning to travel that way. It is sublime and imaginative..Plus the old trees on the grounds are jaw-droppers. Huge lindens, cedars of everywhere, majestic horse-chestnut in bloom now. Check it out online.

    But….when I dashed out of the car this morning to inspect our meagre jardin I found a surprise, planted last fall, Tulip ‘Rococco’ . Picture a dress by Christian LaCroix, a billowing scarlet red taffeta shot through with flames of green and a heart of gold (always welcome). Add ruffles. A parrot with attitude. Got them from Van Engelen Inc. Might be a tad vulgar for zen gardens, but not here.

    Ginny, The Loire Valley is already on my list of must dos – sounds like it was a wonderful trip and I’ll look forward to seeing pictures (come by the greenhouse anytime!) and I’m putting Rococco on the list too. Do you think it’s too much for the demure North Garden? -kris

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