Thursday, March 29, 2007

Species tulips

I have never grown species tulips before. I have grown perhaps 100 different varieties of garden tulips but this is the first year that I have fallen prey to the charms of the species.

Part of the remit of our business is to grow things that you just can't get anywhere else. I could go to any flower wholesaler this lunchtime and come back with trays of Muscari armenium (grape hyacinth), Narcissi tete a tete and white, pink and blue hyacinth. So could any florist.

But you can't go anywhere, bar perhaps a specialist nursery, and get pots of flowering species tulips. They are the complete opposite of the lowest common denominator plant.

The tulips in the photograph are Tulipa turkestana about 6 inches tall with up to 7 flowers on a stem. They are not one of the parents of garden tulips as breeders have so far failed to get them to hybridise with other varieties (think of the flowers you could get if you could get an elegant multi headed version of Queen of the Night) but rather grow in the wild on stony slopes in the Mediterranean and central Asia.

I sold almost all my flowers last week but have saved a few for myself and have planted them into an old enamel nursery mug to enjoy in the dining room.

Yesterday Di Overton at Designer's Block did a lovely post about us. She is an even more avid blogger than I am and is putting together a really great archive of inspirational pictures and contacts.


Samantha said...

They are much prettier than the usual ones you see. I do a a soft spot for the parrot tulips though!

Love the enamel mug

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

I have never seen such a delicate and interesting tulip! Simply beautiful! My daughter planted some parrot tulip bulbs last year in a vibrant lavender shade (she even did a little song and dance for them so they will grow - she is 6)! I will post photos when they make their appearance in late May.

Jane said...

I think that a lot of people are surprised to find that they are tulips and not fritillaries or erythroniums.
I had planted up a lot for the Country Living Fair last week and they were snapped up very quickly.
There is a posting on garden rant at the moment about species bulbs which has lots of lovely photos and suggests that tulipa tarda naturalises well.

I wonder if, like fritillaries and erythronium, it naturalises in grass. Imagine a spead of species tulips under apple trees.

The lavender parrot tulips sound great - are they "blue parrot"? That was one of my favourite tulips last year - like blackberry fool.

Alice said...

I love those tulips - and the enamel pot!

I have a pot of fritillaries which has been flowering for about a month. The flowers look so fragile but last for ages. I must admit that it is outside in a sheltered position so I am not sure how well it would do indoors - and it is also a little unpredictable when it will flower but worth the wait.

a pink-bee said...

Your blog is sooooo much fun :) Thanks for posting pic's of the CL show booths- fun to look at and dream of going one day :)
I love flowers and post them often on my blog. Today posted on microwave pressing flowers.
Your van is tooo cute :)

charlotte said...

thanks so much for adding me to your crafty blog list...much appreciated! xoC

Nonnie said...

Those are gorgeous. I love the little pot you've planted in. I think tulips are my favourite flowers but I especially like the unusual ones.

weirdbunny said...

Those tulips look so tropical !

Ragged Roses said...

Those tulips are beautiful. They seem much more refined than there cousins. Are the colours always so delicate! Love your site by the way!

Jane said...

These are the first that I have grown - though I also have some tulips tarda which should bloom next week. I did plant tulipa clusius but they are obviously the mousie equivalent of caviar and have all been eaten.

Ragged Roses -I used to make proggy mats with my Gran - I wish I still had some of her mats but they were very much utilitarian items and haven't survived. Your site is one of those waiting to go onto my sidebar. So many sites, so little time

Rebsie Fairholm said...

Hello Jane ... those species tulips look lovely! I have some in my garden at the moment which are similar in shape but two-tone purple and white. I planted them about three years ago along with some normal garden tulips, and while the flowers on the garden tulips have got progressively weaker each year the species tulips perform consistently well and always look lovely.

Thanks for linking to me too! I appreciate that.

one`blue egg said...

gosh those are beautiful a tulip I have never seen before either and the ducks are great as well!

Jane said...

From what people have said, these species tulips are actually easier to introduce into a garden than the larger garden tulips. I shall be giving my spent bulbs (from my pot and from the bank's flowers) to Drymen Primary for their spring "meadow" - it would be wonderful if they eventually spread in drifts to follow on from the snowdrops.