Tulip mania has arrived at London Plantology HQ. On the hottest day of April tulips started flowering and I have hopelessly fallen in love with their radiant colours. This is my first year growing tulips and I have planted bulbs in two containers in my front garden. Orange, coffee and purple tulips appeared first and a couple of weeks later – white, cream and pink tulips have emerged in the second planter.
Over the past few days I went outside with the morning Sun, trying to take yet another “perfect” photo of my tulips before rushing off to work. In the evening I had more time to pause for a moment and appreciate their beauty. Observing tulips so closely, I discovered how their personality changes during the day. Morning tulips are serene, composed and elegant, just half-unfolded and a bit sleepy like me. With the sun rising in the sky and heat touching the petals, flowers become fully opened, bright, bold and a little show-off. What an amazing transformation!
Orange Emperor, La Belle Epoque, Ronaldo
My first planter is a mix of Orange Emperor, La Belle Epoque and Ronaldo tulips. When I received my bulbs back in November, it took a lot of juggling to get the colour combination right. Orange Emperor wasn’t shy to ruin my plans beginning to flower a week before its companions. Pale orange with narrow green veins changed to creamy yellow stripes and eventually to fiery orange with a touch of pink on the edge. It was growing tall and proud but, sadly, was hit by a heat wave we had during the bank holiday weekend and so didn’t last long.
La Belle Epoque was next to appear. My favourite and the most anticipated tulip, yet, at first I almost didn’t notice it. Blooms emerged quietly and blended in with tones of Orange Emperor. Only when flowers opened fully could I admire its elaborate petal shapes and beautiful colours – light peach, apricot, coffee and pink. It reminded me of coffee, cream and cookies sprinkled with chocolate!
Ronaldo is the smallest tulip in this container but I like how little purple dots highlight orange colours.
I planted up my second container with Spring Green, Angelique and Menton tulips. These tulips are featured in Sarah Raven catalogue as the best pale collection. Ivory Spring Green with hints of yellow and green, gentle Angelique and coral Menton – a very different colour scheme from my other planter. 🙂
Spring Green, Angelique, Menton
A star of this container for me is tulip Angelique. The flower looks like a tiny tea rose and has a beautiful sweet scent. It is loved by the gardening community on Twitter too. By the way, I was so busy admiring flowers, I forgot to smell my tulips. Maybe, others also had a fragrance! Do you stop and smell the tulips, or is it only roses?
Tulip Menton pleasantly surprised me. I didn’t expect it to be special but it’s quite unique. The only tulip in my collection which holds its shape and doesn’t unfold completely. Subtle pink with white and cream towards the edge, you can see all the intricate lines running and creating delicate patterns on its petals. Being late flowering variety, Menton continues to brighten up my small front garden.
Angelique, Spring Green, Menton
I hope my tulips will create a colourful display year after year! The trick of keeping healthy bulbs full of vigour is to plant them quite deep in the soil and cut flowers earlier. This gives bulbs a chance to recover and be ready for next spring.
Leave me a comment below with your favourite varieties to grow and let’s share our passion for tulips!