Welcome to Flowers On Sunday. It has been a very hectic day with my son’s 16th birthday and my middle daughter returning to university, so I have had little time for arranging flowers and am writing this very late – hopefully I will not make too many mistakes!
Last May I was lucky to go to the Chelsea Flower Show with a few friends. Wandering around the Grand Pavillion we can across a display of stunning tulips organised by Bloms Bulbs. Whilst rubbing shoulders with Carol Klien, who was filming at the stand, we fell in love with far too many varieties of tulips and before we knew what we were doing a collective order had been placed.
It has to be said that Bloms Bulbs are not the cheapest source of tulips. They justify their price on the quality of their bulbs. Better quality bulbs lead to bigger, longer lasting blooms they argue. I was sceptical, but put in my order for two varieties that I had never grown before – Kingsblood and World Impression. I chose these two on the basis that they were a colour I would not normally grow and that they complimented each other very well. By the time the bulbs arrived in September I had forgotten all about the order – 2 bags of tulips were handed to me during the course of a school parents evening and ended up loitering in a pantry cupboard for quite a few weeks. When I finally planted them in December amongst some nepeta that had died back in the Cutting Garden I really did not know what to expect.
These tulips are late flowering single varieties and have grown large flowers on long sturdy stems as promised. They have looked good at every stage of their growth.
The nepeta is knee high now and the tulips are standing tall above it.
The red Kingsblood goes very well with the bright red flames in World Expression. The two have flowered simultaneously as I had planned.
World Expression opens as a soft yellow which turns to white with striking red flames.
As I had little time to play around with the cut flowers today, I decided to clean out the flowers from last weeks vase (which was just hanging on) and put the tulips in there.
This is not an arrangement I am particularly fond of. I would have preferred to use these tulips on long stems but as it has been very windy this week and the tulips have been in flower for well over a week, the stems have bent and were not strong enough for a vase.
I have learnt this year that it is very important to pick tulips as they start to open – that is when the stems are strongest and you can make a tall arrangement that will last well in a vase. If the heads start to droop as you pick them it is very hard to do anything other than cut the stems short.
Whilst not particularly liking this arrangement I am very pleased with how well these two tulips compliment each other. I have decided to leave these bulbs in the ground and see how they flower next year. If they do well I would be tempted to order some more to plant in a border somewhere as they have looked stunning in the garden. Colour wise they are not my favourite for arranging and certainly do not sit well with any of my interiors.
I have to give Bloms Bulbs top marks though – although they were expensive these bulbs did perform very well. I will probably order a small quantity of bulbs in a variety that I grow regularly from Bloms Bulbs in the autumn to trial against my usual suppliers.
Returning to the Cutting Garden, Purple Prince has been in flower since the beginning of the month and is still looking good. It has to be my number one recommendation for looks, longevity and repeat flowering. These bulbs are flowering for the third time.
Gander’s Philosophy ties with peony flowered Angelique as my favourite pale pink tulip. It is also long flowering and repeats well.
Dordogne is a new tulip this year and is looking stunning as all my other oranges are going over. Lily flowered Ballerina is the only other orange I grow that is still looking good.
Behind Dordogne you can see Jan Reus, which has been flowering for ages and the dark tulip Black Hero which is still in flower. All the very dark tulips are still looking good – every year these seem to be in flower with the lilac and the first alliums.
I would love to hear about your recommendations and favourite tulips – it is good to be able to share growing experiences.