25 April 2011

That one was for a meadow sold

There are days when I understand Tulipomania.


Clockwise from top left:  'Mata Hari,' 'Queen of the Night,' 'Menton,' and 'Ivory Floradale.'  All very beautiful, though honestly 'Mara Hari' is a bit gaudy for me -- the first year I grew it, I wrote in my paper garden journal that it was exactly the sort of thing you'd name after an exotic dancer -- and the pink only grows wider as the blossom matures.  The catalogues will tell you it's  'creamy white with a rose-pink picotee edge' but it's never been anything but lemon and screaming pink in this garden.

'Menton' is exquisitely salmon and an excellent survivor; if I were ever to pull up stakes, 'Menton' would be on the list of things I'd plant again.  'Queen of the Night' had a strong first season but does not rebloom quite as spectacularly after that.  Perhaps if one had the inclination to feed and pamper the bulbs they might, but I don't.

'Ivory Floradale' is new this year, so I can't comment on longevity yet.  However, it has been so lovely -- enormous primrose yellow cups that gradually faded to creamy white -- and so strongly, sweetly fragrant that I hope it does come back.  And if it doesn't, it will be worth replanting.  Fragrance is not something I expect in a tulip, so I spent several minutes trying to figure out where that scent was coming from.

I grow a few species tulips, as well.  They are smaller and less showy than the gorgeous giants, but still eminently desirable.  This is Tulipa clusiana, the lady tulip.  The petals are almond-shaped, and on warm sunny day, it opens up into a small yellow star.

Lady Tulip

The daffodils are pretty much finished now, but here's a last picture of  'Loth Lorien':

Narcissus 'Loth Lorien'

Andrew Marvell

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