After last weeks delicate pale pink blossom, this week I am sharing something altogether more sultry and sophisticated – my first tulip from this years batch planted in the raised beds in the Cutting Garden are this delicious early flowering double tulip called Chato.
I have been growing tulip Chato for cutting for a few years now and she never disappoints. I planted these bulbs deeply in a raised bed in late December and they have flowered on extraordinarily long stems – I cut a good 4 inches off the stems before placing the flowers in this jug and they are still growing at quite a rate. As the day has gone on the stems have bent gracefully and would look gorgeous combined into a bigger table arrangement – sadly I have too much weeding to do to spend much time faffing with flowers at the moment, so a simple jug will have to do.
Chato is deep pink tulip with a hint of violet to the petals – a glorious rich shade that would look perfect displayed in a tulipier like the ones below that I saw on a trip to Amsterdam. Sadly I do not own such a thing as a tulipier so a more down to earth jug will have to be enough.
Looking inside this lovely tulip reminds me very much of looking into a peony, perhaps one such as the beautiful Karl Rosenfield – maybe this similarity to peonies explains why I love the double tulips so very much.
I particularly love the green veining on the outer petals of tulip Chato – I know by looking at this veining that this tulip would combine very well with any greenery I could find in the garden – fresh young leaves on branches, fronds of ferns, lovely trailing stems of pink honeysuckle, new stems of mint and all the shades of blossom would make good partners.
The tulips above were picked when they were fully opened as flowering happened so quickly in the warm weather we have been enjoying for the last week. In an ideal world I would pick the stems first thing in the morning at about the stage below – the tulip below is clearly showing its potential but has not yet fully opened. It could be stored wrapped in brown paper to protect its heads in a cool dark room in a bucket of water for a few days if it needed holding back for an event, but would open quickly if placed in a vase in a warm room. Tulips picked at this stage will have the best shelf life and will continue to grow in the vase, giving you a different arrangement to enjoy every day. If the continually growing stems are going to be a problem just re cut the stems every day or two and pop them back in your arrangement.
Personally I love the elegant arching stems of tulips and do not enjoy a bunch that stays resolutely upright as much. It is much easier to place arching stems into a mixed arrangement and I particularly like using a selection of tulips at different stages of opening in a vase or jug. Hopefully I will have time next week to make a mixed arrangement – it would be easier to demonstrate than to explain.
When photographing these flowers I used the same lens as last week – my 100mm macro with settings mainly at about ISO 500, f stop 6.3 and shutter speed 1/100. I turned my light meter down to make the picture darker in camera and then lightened the photos in editing – it is quite hard to capture the detail of a dark flower and too much light will result in the petals looking like a blob. By adding light after I took the picture I have better preserved the details of the individual petals.
Before I finish for the night I just wanted to remind you that the first Gather & Grow workshop hosted by Brigitte from Moss & Stone and myself will be held in my garden on 4th May. Above you can see the view into the garden from the newly tided coach house – Brigitte and I spent a very productive afternoon last week transforming the dusty junk filled room into a space that will be perfect for Brigitte’s afternoon flower arranging session. In the morning I will be concentrating on the mechanics of growing, considering what to grow and giving everyone a chance to ask lots of questions as we roam around the garden and work in the greenhouse. There are just a couple of spaces left so please do get in touch if you are interested in attending.
As ever I am linking with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join in with her challenge to find something from the garden to cut for the house every week of the year. Please do pop over to her blog to see what she and the others have made this week – I know she would be delighted if you had the time to stop and say hello.