Six on Saturday: Tulips!

‘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.

  1. 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…

2. Negrita

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.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. One Man And His Garden Trowel says:

    Beautiful tulips. They look fantastic. My second pot of tulips are on the verge of flowering. The first pot were a big disappointment and didn’t feature in any of my SoSs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. fredgardener says:

    I also grow Negrita, which is actually a little darker than the photo, don’t you think?
      The Queen of the Night is very beautiful. In my wish list for next year ….😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes don’t know why Negrita came out so pink in photo! I love Queen of the Night and highly recommend it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Heyjude says:

    Lovely tulips and yes a warm welcome by the front door. I bought Apricot Beauty for the first time and not that impressed by the colour though they do get better as they mature and I should have grown mine with a dark purple like Queen of Night or Havran. The Purple Flame is very nice. And what is not to like about Ballerina. Lovely, elegant shape and colour and comes back year after year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heyjude says:

      *Flag* not Flame!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. janesmudgeegarden says:

        Ballerina, is the pick of your tulips, I think. I like the shape of the petals, and the colour is very eye-catching. It’s interesting that the Purple Flags came back the way they did, perhaps some of the tulips I planted last year will return too. Your garden is looking very pretty.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. What a beautiful Tulipfest!! Lovely photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. JohnK says:

    My tulips have all gone over. I’m sort of grateful that I can dig them up. They didn’t come to much this year. I shall resist all temptation to become jealous of yours. Though “Ballerina” may have found its way onto next year’s want list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have mainly late varieties with many yet to flower. I won’t dig them up as they seem to come back quite reliably – many in third year and still going strong!


  6. Keith says:

    Lovely. Are most of your tulips left in the ground or do you ever lift and store them? I wonder if they might re-flower better this year after getting a good baking in last years long hot summer. I imagine this might have simulated their Persian origins more closely than our usual cool, damp summers?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I leave them in the ground and I’m afraid to say I usually compost the ones in pots.


  7. Noelle says:

    A wonderful performance by the Ballerina…a choice and perfect bloom.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Apricot Beauty is beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cavershamjj says:

    Beautiful tulips and all different to mine apart from apricot delight. Mine aren’t out yet (the apricots), although they soon will be. The rest are looking fab. I’m very happy with the tulips on the patio but I need to do a better job at the front door. Makes mental note….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I just love tulip time. You have great fun planning your colour combinations with all the catalogues in the autumn and the result is always lovely (unless the squirrels have there way). A lovely selection.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve long had pots of flowery stuff by the front door but have thought of it as ornamentation; I like Fergus’s take on it as a welcome, makes the effort seem more worthy, like you’re doing it for others not just yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. tonytomeo says:

    Thank you for tulips. I do not grow them because they bloom only for one season here. I will eventually grow some white tulips, just for bragging rights. For now, I do not want to spend so much on something that grows as a short term annual. The white tulip that I want is the cheap and common ‘Maureen’. I have looked at others, but am no more impressed than I am with ‘Maureen’. I remember it in catalogues a long time ago, and I still dig it.

    Liked by 1 person

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