May 16, 2012

My Tulip Tradition

Princess Irene

Does doing something three times make it a tradition? if so, my spring tulip posts have become one. You can see my 2011 post here, and 2010 here. Each fall I plant a variety of tulips in my vegetable garden, so I can have cut flowers in the house when they bloom. I love the way tulips look in a vase: their strong, clear forms are a pleasure to arrange and to photograph, and are very different from the informal daffodils.  I reorder some favorites, and try new ones each year. Princess Irene is new for me, and was the first tulip to bloom on short stems. Its saturated orange with the purply flame was gorgeous.

Mystery Tulip

Sometimes I get a surprise with a bulb order. This was supposed to be Apricot Beauty, which is a salmon pink, but instead I got this rich red-orange. It had the most luscious scent, something between vanilla and citrus.


I love the delicate frothiness of this tulip, that almost masquerades as a peony.


Ballerina, a lily-flowered tulip, has become one of my favorites. Its outward spreading, pointed petals are so sprightly.

Golden Artist

What a spectacular tulip! Golden Artist is sure to become a favorite. This is a viridiflora tulip, meaning that it has a green flame on the petals. I've never seen one so beautiful, where the balance of green with the orange and gold is so perfect, and the petals so expressive.


The season ends with a quiet and restrained tulip, classic in form and a golden white in early bloom. As the flowers have matured and opened, they have become a pure bright white. Another pleasure of having tulips in the house is watching their changes, from young bud to drooping death, a lesson in beauty found in all stages of life.

*ps: I'll be away for a few days, so see you next week!


  1. Stunning photos, and you have some very wonderful species of tulips.

    1. Thanks, Mona. I love reading descriptions of tulips in my fall planting catalog; sometimes there are great surprises.

  2. Yes, I second Mona's comment - stunning!

  3. Tulips are my favorite flowers, and yours are beautiful. My Flickr photostream is filled with tulip images. I have a hard time restraining myself:

  4. Why don't the deer eat your tulips?

  5. Dear eat tulips, not Daffs. Honest! Altoon these are beautiful. I used a lot of tulips for the Historic properties spring displays. They loved the paitned tulips in the 17t-18-19th c. did you know that a virus is what causes the frills and streaks?

  6. Thank you, Cheryl and Helen and Lynda for your comments.
    As for the deer, I plant these in my vegetable garden, which is protected by an electric fence.
    Yes, I knew that the original flamed tulips were caused by a virus, and they went for huge amounts of money, a first big speculative bubble in the 17th century.
    NIce tulip pics, Cheryl; I especially like "Perfect in Peach".

  7. I have Princess Irene and love it. Have you checked out Old House Gardens? They have an online and print catalog and their bulbs are spectacular. I've had a number of very fragrant tulips from them.