‘April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.’
T. S. Eliot, ‘The Wasteland’
I missed last week’s Six on Saturday due to an all day yoga course, so apologies if someone has already quoted T. S. Eliot, but at this time of year, this poem always comes to mind. ‘Winter kept us warm’ says the poet, and ‘Summer surprised us’, but April is an in-between month when there are still some frosts at night, but during the day when the sun shines it can feel warm enough to go without a coat.
The garden is coming back to life and there is no more obvious sign of this than the tulips, which are now coming into glorious flower. Each year, I plant new varieties from my favourite supplier Peter Nyssen, so this week’s Six is focusing on the bulb made popular by the Ottoman Emperor Suleiman I.
I am joining in with the Emperor of Propagation himself and his flower-loving subjects, who invites us each week to feature six things from our garden. Do visit The Propagator to find out more.
- Apricot Beauty
Up close this tulip looks more salmon pink, but the effect from a distance definitely lives up to its name with a pale apricot hue. I have planted this together with…
This tulip looks a more vivid pinky purple in this photo than in the garden, where it provides a dark contrast to Apricot beauty. The effect of these tulips together with Ballerina tulips in front, is a delight to see from our French windows, but difficult to capture in a picture.
3. Ballerina and Queen of the Night
I love the slender flame like petals of this tulip, as well as its vibrant blood orange colour, with hints of purple around the base and yellow at the tips. I have paired it with another favourite tulip, Queen of the Night.
4. Black Parrot and China Town
Fergus Garrett says you should always have a ‘welcome’ by your front door. At Great Dixter, he constantly experiments with the pots by the porch. I have tried to emulate this in my own small way and here we have China Town and Black Parrot tulips. I’m glad of the labels, or I wouldn’t have remembered their names.
5. Unnamed tulip and violas
I forgot to label these tulips and so I’m afraid I can’t tell you what they are called, although I think their foliage is rather lovely. They are coupled with some violas I bought back in November, which spent the winter looking rather sorry for themselves and are now putting on a wonderful display. They came in four pots, each with the name of a European city, although I can only remember ‘Nice’ and ‘Amsterdam’.
6. Purple Flag
I planted these Purple Flag tulips two and a half years ago and this is their third reappearance. They looked wonderful the first year, not quite so good last year, but this year they are back looking quite lovely and in keeping with the Muscari and bluebells in this slightly wild patch of our front garden. The bricks just in view to the left are where the postie hops into our neighbour’s garden – I decided just to go with this desire line. The rose to the right is David Austen’s Emily Brontë, new last year, which I hope to feature in future sixes.