This has certainly been a week of tulips, both in and out of the house!
Last week’s vases of Apricot Impression, Orange Nassau and Chato all lasted until yesterday and during the week I have added a few other displays. The beds and containers around the house are now also bulging with tulips and the Cutting Garden is getting more colourful as each day goes by. I have wildly overestimated the rate at which I can use all these tulips, but at least I know I have enough to go round and it is lovely to have such colour in the Cutting Garden.
I mentioned earlier in the week that I have planted out the sweet peas started in the greenhouse in winter. With them I planted borage and dill plugs and my little borage plants are the first casualty of the year – they have disappeared and I suspect the many rooks I can see hanging around the Cutting Garden have taken them. I always have to be very careful with vegetable plugs, but flowers have not previously been a problem. At least it is not too late in the year to start again.
You can see above the cutting bed in which I intend to plant predominantly white and green flowers. This bed was weeded and raked over during the week, so is now ready for a mix of plugs and direct sowings. It will be from here that I will be picking ammi majus, orlya, cosmos, snapdragons and dahlias, all in shades of white, later in the season. For now the white tulips are having their day – although I love all tulips I think the elegant whites are my favourite.
I showed this photo earlier in the week, but as Jan Reus is featuring today I thought another look at her growing outside was a good idea.
Jan Reus is a member of a category of tulips called Triumph. Triumph tulips are known for their sturdy stems and long flowering time. They are quite early flowerers and also repeat very well. I have not grown Jan Reus in the garden before, but a Triumph tulip that I do grow is Purple Prince and that is still looking stunning in its fourth spring.
Jan Reus is a dark velvet red. Sarah Raven’s description as a ‘deep, dark and luscious crimson’ is perfect. Another feature of Triumph tulips is that they have a long vase life, so I am expecting this arrangement to easily last the week. It is worth mentioning here that cut tulips placed on sunny windowsills do not last as long as tulips kept in cooler shadier positions. In the sun tulips open out to attract pollinators and this weakens the tight flower shape.
Jan Reus has replaced last week’s vase of Chato on the mantle in the drawing room. The colour works very well, so I will be cutting a few more tomorrow for the coffee table – more is always better with tulips!
My second tulip this week is the lily flowered Tres Chic.
I have to admit to being slightly disappointed with this one when it first flowered late last week. This is billed as a late flowering pure white tulip. All the tulips are early this year, but my other lates are only just showing colour, so Tres Chic was very early. Also I would say the colour is a creamy white, rather than a pure white and it has flowered on quite a short stem. That said when I got it inside this morning and arranged a group of 20 stems in this large blue flowered jug I was very pleased with the result.
When preparing tulips for the vase, as with any flower, it is best to remove any foliage that will be below the water level of the vase. Sometimes I strip the tulips completely to reveal the long straight stem. On other occasions, such as in the jug above, I leave a layer of leaves to pad out the stems so making sure the arrangement stands upright.
The Lily flowered varieties are my favourite of all the tulips. They hold their elegant shape well in the garden and are good repeat flowerers. As well as Tres Chic I also grow White Triumphator, which is a pure white lily shape on a long stem. As White Triumphator has not flowered yet, I think I will keep Tres Chic in next years Cutting Garden list despite my reservations, as it will ensure that I have my favourite white lily shape for a longer period.
In the garden I grow White Triumphator in a shady bed with the frilly white tulip Swan Wings and the parrot tulip White Parrot. All flower together late in the season and look very tranquil growing amongst Dicentra alba with white foxgloves and the tall white allium Mount Everest shooting up to take over the flowering reins. I have no luck with White Parrot or Swan Wings repeating, so this is a trio I now replant every autumn.
I hope that you have had a lovely weekend and that you will join me here again tomorrow for ‘In A Vase On Monday’ when I will be sharing some other spring flowers from my garden.