Tulips in my Garden

Tulips have had mixed success in my free-draining, slightly sandy-soil garden. In my early gardening days the wind would destroy my carefully positioned groups, blowing them over. Then, in the second year after planting, the tulips would refuse to flower. By the fourth year they'd have totally disappeared into the gardening underworld.

 Always messy.
Red Tulips

But I've always loved the look of groups of plain red tulips (before the wind gets them). They have a strength and a simplicity which is inspiring. And so I've kept on planting and hoping. Lone survivors of these early days still pop up in the house gardens now, but a solo tulip, no matter how brilliantly coloured, looks rather sad and silly!

 No stamina!
Lemon Tulips

Lemon Tulips

So the reds have let me down, but oddly, a small group of pale creamy-lemon tulips have survived - as I write this, for more than ten years! They flower in the Laundry Garden with my collection of herbs and lavenders. These tulips flower in mid-spring, and their pale lemon tones follow the brighter colour displays of the yellow daffodils. At the same time the herb Golden Marjoram starts to glow (and grow), providing such a pretty base cover.

But beware the mid-spring equinoxical gales. As soon as the wind starts to blow, the delicate tulip petals break open and blow off. Such a pity!

Only in Photographs...

Tulips which in the past I have purchased, loved, and planted in the garden only exist now in archive photographs. Like the subtle orange beauty which used to flower in the house garden. It was a type of species tulip - there were subtle criss-cross markings on the leaves, and the flowers didn't last for more than a few days. They were the first tulips to appear in my garden, and so easily missed.

 With very short stems.
Orange Species Tulip

And whatever happened to the frilly pink peony-like ones I bought from the local bulb farm? And the frilly fringed yellows? And the bags of striped beauties rescued from the supermarket, gasping and sprouting desperately in their plastic bags? Photographs below...

Finally I had a revelation, realising I'd have to spend money on new bulbs every year. These I proudly planted in pots. Yippee! This worked! The house and patio gardens looked wonderful with splashes of yellow, pink, and red. But by next year all the bulbs had broken down into small divisions. I replanted them, but very few flowers appeared. Sob, sob! And I'd got the colours all messed up. Oh well. Learn from my mistakes, do I?