Welcome to my weekly ‘In A Vase On Monday’ when I link up with Cathy from Rambling In The Garden to join in with her challenge to find something from the garden to put in a vase in the house every Monday. This week is a combination of two vases – one made just before I left for Barcelona and another made on my return last Friday and photographed a few days later.

These are all tulips that have flowered in my greenhouse and they come from a collection sent to me in the autumn by Sarah Raven. The collection is called the Brandy Snap Tulip Collection. Every year Sarah Raven adds new collections of tulips to her lovely catalogue which makes picking tulips that will look beautiful together very easy. All the tulips are also available as single varieties if you prefer to make your own selection.

The Brandy Snap collection consists of three varieties:

  • La Belle Epoque which is a combination of apricot pink and coffee. This is a late double variety which should flower outside between late April and early May,
  • Bruine Wimpel which is an unusual brandy snap brown and is a late single tulip,
  • Ronaldo which is a deep purple single early tulip and
  • Cairo which is also a single early with a deep burnt orange interior and brandy snap exterior.

Following my very unsuccessful autumn bulb planting season, I hastily planted these bulbs in my greenhouse bed towards the end of January – not ideal as really tulips need a cold spell to promote the best growth. Much to my surprise they have flowered very well despite their mistreatment – Ronaldo and La Belle Epoque were the first to flower followed shortly after by Bruine Wimpel. These three make up the vase below.


This is a close up look at the stunning Bruine Wimpel.


And this is the interior of the equally beautiful La Belle Epoque.


A week later tulip Cairo was ready to pick and can be seen in the smaller vase at the front, a few days after cutting.

Orange-Tulips Orange-Tulips Orange-Tulips

La Belle Epoque lasted beautifully in the vase and then aged in a breath taking manner.


Tulip Ronaldo stayed very upright throughout his time in the vase.


This final photo shows the two tone colour of tulip Cairo very well. The tulip behind is Apricot Dream which was also grown in my greenhouse. The Apricot Dream bulbs that made it into outdoor pots are only just coming into flower.


Out of this collection the only tulip I have grown before is Ronaldo, which comes back very well year after year. Generally I find the single early tulips are the most reliable for repeat flowering.

My tulips are all coming into flower in the garden right now and I have made a devastating discovery in my Cutting Garden – the tulip virus called tulip fire has romped through much of my tulip collection destroying the flowers this year. Bulbs that have been infected with this virus grow with distorted leaves that are marked with brown patches, looking like burn marks. The flowers are very small and also marked with brown blotches. There is no cure for tulip fire and it spreads very quickly, so the bulbs must be dug up and burnt to stop the virus from spreading. It is recommended that tulips are not replanted in areas with tulip fire for two to three seasons. Fortunately the virus is only in the beds in the Cutting Garden – tulips growing in my main garden, pots and raised beds have not been infected so I am keeping my fingers crossed that if I get rid of these infected bulbs as quickly as possible I will stop any further spread of this horrible disease. A gardeners life is never easy!!

I have been working on pulling together a collection of photos of my garden taken over the last month as spring has really got underway, so I will be back with those later this week. If you like looking at photos of tulips you might enjoy my tulip board on Pinterest where I am building up a collection of images of tulips that inspire me. Every year at about this time I start to make notes about the tulips I would like see in my garden next year – the best time to plan your spring displays is now whilst everything is fresh in your mind. I will certainly be growing La Belle Epoque, Bruine Wimple, Ronaldo and Cairo together outside next year and must say a big thank you to Sarah Raven for giving me the opportunity to trial them.

Finally a big thank you to Cathy for hosting and I hope you will pop over to her blog to see what she and the others have made this week.