This weeks ‘Flowers On Sunday’ is a little different. For the last few months I have been making a weekly trip to the flower stall at the market and using the flowers that I bought for ‘Flowers On Sunday’. This week for the first time since before Christmas I have enough flowers growing in the Cutting Garden to fill the house with, so I am using these for my post.
Whilst I am sure I will still be buying the odd bunch or two from the market, I hope that most of my cut flowers will be coming from my own garden for the rest of the year (well at least until November). As well as being economical this will give me a weekly opportunity to share with you what I am picking from my Cutting Garden.
The tulips started to flower last Monday. First to open was Cilesta, which I used for ‘In A Vase On Monday‘. These were closely followed by Chato and Apricot Impression. Yesterday Orange Nassau opened and a number of white tulips will be in flower any day now. This year was my first year of planting tulips in the Cutting Garden. I ordered 50 bulbs each of a variety of tulips and planted them in blocks of 25 around the edges of the Cutting Garden beds. My plan is to use them all as cut flowers and then replant new bulbs next autumn.
Cost wise I would pay £5 for 15 stems at the market (which is quite cheap compared to florists prices). Generally I paid around £10 per 50 bulbs in the autumn, so it is clearly cheaper to grow my own tulips even if I do have to plant new bulbs each autumn to ensure the best flower size. Ordering bulbs in larger quantities brings the price down even further.
Yesterday I filled three containers with tulips – rather like a glut of tomatoes I like to make sure I use all the flowers to make it worthwhile growing them like this. Unlike fruit and vegetables however, there is very little preparation involved in putting tulips in jugs and vases! When picking tulips from the Cutting Garden I pull them out attached to their bulb – this gives the longest stem length. I then take them back to the pantry where I have a large enamel sink, ideal for preparing cut flowers in. I cut off the bulbs, remove the lower leaves and plunge the tulips into cool water. After a couple of hours they are ready to be arranged. I re-cut the stems to the desired lengths and put them into their final containers.
The first tulip for today is Apricot Impression. I bought these from the Clare Bulb Company, a local supplier that I use every year. This is a new tulip to me. It is an early flowering Darwin Hybrid and I have been amazed by its height and the size of its flowers. You can see the unopened flowers standing tall above the other tulips in the photo above.
Whlist the overall colouring is a beautiful shade of apricot, I hope you can see that there is a pale pink strip running up the length of each petal. This really is an extraordinary tulip.
I arranged Apricot Impression in a large off white jug and have placed the jug in a window in the dining room. For the photograph below I stood the jug on a dining chair, so that you can see how the tulips compliment the colour of the upholstery in the room. When you are planning a Cutting Garden it is good to think about the colours in your interiors and what flower shades will work well.
Next I put together a small posy of tulip Orange Nassau, a double early tulip. I bought these from the Gee Tee Bulb Company. I have grown Orange Nassau before and know that they are a very short little tulip (8-10 inches), so pulling up the bulb helps to give the best stem length. In the garden they have not repeat flowered well – the Cutting Garden is the ideal place for them. The colour is perfect for our downstairs ‘powder room’ which is painted a lovely terracotta shade. A small jug of these tulips will sit on the marble top – I love the combination of blue and orange, so this old pretty jug works well.
Whereas many tulips are bold and architectural in shape, Orange Nassau has more than a touch of a bad hair day! I love it for its shaggy, imperfect appearance.
Finally I have another tulip that is new to me this year called Chato. This is a bulb I purchased from Sarah Raven. It is an early double flowering tulip with a beautiful purple pink peony like flower. I am very impressed with this new addition and will be making the most of it in vases in the drawing room, which has deep red walls and looks lovely with purple and pink flowers.
Whereas most of the house is populated with glass and silver accessories, I always choose shades of gold, bronze and gilt for this room. I like the flowers to compliment the opulent feel and so choose double flowered tulips, peonies, roses and velvet coloured dahlias.
I hope you have enjoyed this weeks tulips and I will be back tomorrow with some more flowers from my garden for ‘In A Vase On Monday’.