My Chelsea Flower Show 2014 – Tulips
An important and thrilling aspect of my job is to select Tulip bulbs every Autumn for a dazzling Spring display. I find that the catalogues rarely represent well the true colours of flowers, so it is a great opportunity to choose some new varieties that are unfamiliar to me. In the Great Pavilion there are several bulb retailers with displays of flowering tulips, all named and ready to be photographed. Unfortunately I didn’t do them all justice with some rather blurry images..
batalini Honky Tonk
As I said, these are all varieties that are unfamiliar to me and can be added to my list of absolute favourites:
Ballade + Havran,
Queen of Night
Every year in August the bulb catalogues pour through my letter box, sending my mind into a frantic lather of indecision. So many beautiful tulips to choose from. Do I choose tall or short, earlier or late, multi coloured, lily flowered, brash smug, over the top gaudy, statuesque, species or plain. Could a tulip ever be plain?
I love buying tulips for my clients. However it is now, at this time of year, the results of my many sleepless nights in Autumn, are on display for all to see. I turn into someones driveway and I’m either genuinely bowled over and proud of the delightful scene that beholds me or I am consumed with cringing thoughts…at the clashing colours, way too big blooms, did I really choose that? Honestly, they must have got my order mixed up with someone else’s??!
So there we are, I have owned up to sometimes getting it wrong and I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, as I now search through my photo collection, I hardly have any records of my failures?
Year 1, I think I got it right
Year 2. Planted white and yellows but hadn’t removed previous reds, oops
Year 3. Yellows and reds moved to back garden, New pink and last years white have come back
- Year 4, yes my best combination yet. Tulipa Havran and Ballade
Gorgeous blue Muscari are being pushed up by the Tulip leaves growing from below to form a delightful dome shape, in this terracotta planter.
Although it is too late to plant up a container with bulbs like this for Spring, there are summer bulbs you can plant NOW which will flower this year. I have just treated ourselves to some Lilies which I have completely fallen in love with in the last couple of years. It is time to leaf through those plant catalogues or head up to a garden centre and treat yourselves too.
Lilium regale is the traditional English country garden variety. Tall, white, scented, trumpet flower with a purple hue to the bud. You won’t be disappointed by this stunning and statuesque plant which will just look better with more blooms every year.
As always there are many other varieties to choose. I have bought L. ‘Zambesi’, an Oriental x Trumpet scented lily and another tall orange Species lily L. ‘Henryi’ – both flowering in July and I can’t wait.