Transitory Glories: Tulips (2)

As is usual here in spring, a lot of the flowers pass me by all too quickly. Sometimes I feel that I barely have time to notice one or two of them before they are already going over. (This year it was the camassias that have disappeared too soon for me. If I had been paying more attention I would have taken some photographs of them.)

Luckily, that hasn’t applied to the tulips because they’re near where I’ve been working in the garden for the last few weeks. Even then, their departure feels sudden and many have already been deadheaded. For a little while the flowers are eye-catching in their glorious colours, flaunting their bright petals and demanding to be noticed. They are already mostly gone and I’m left wondering how the time has managed to pass so quickly!

Tulip ‘Angelique’

I guess if there’s a moral to that, it’s to make sure you stop and enjoy your garden at every stage through the year…something I’m still learning to do. The good thing is that these tulips have come back again for several years. (The ‘Angelique’ and ‘Shirley’ tulips have only been in the garden for three years, so I shall have to wait and see how long-lived they are. The yellow tulip has been in the garden for a very long time – they seem to last forever!)

I’ve been discouraged by tulips fizzling out quite quickly in the past, not realising that there are some that are just short-lived. Now I’m more likely to experiment so that I will have something new to photograph. And if they don’t last for many years, that just gives room for a new variety. Meanwhile, I’ll try to make sure I take the time to enjoy the flowers in the garden before they fade…and for those I do miss, there’s always next year!

Triumph tulip ‘Shirley’

Tulip Confusion

Packing flower bulbs must be a tricky job. If something goes awry and the wrong variety gets into a batch that’s being packed, how could you tell? So it’s not very surprising if something turns out to be different to what you thought you’d bought…like the tulip here. The pack was labelled ‘Hollywood Star’ but that tulip looks different to this one.

The flowers of Hollywood Star are much more red than the magenta here, and a different shape. They’re more the usual rounded tulip shape that you might expect. This one is different. It’s a lily-flowered tulip, with narrow petals that curve backwards. Happily for me, that has made this a more interesting flower to photograph because the petals have some lovely wavy curves. To me, the shapes they make suggest energy and a tendency to do their own thing. It also makes each flower slightly different from the next, so that gives more variety to my photographs.

This labelling mistake has turned out well for me. As a garden flower (rather than just a photographic subject), I find I prefer the unpredictability of this tulip over something more uniform. That makes me wonder if it’s good to sometimes have less control in the garden. Unexpected planting can certainly make life more interesting!

I still don’t know what this tulip is. There is a slight green marking at the base of the petals, so, like Hollywood Star, it is a viridiflora type. From looking at photos elsewhere, I think it’s probably ‘Doll’s Minuet, so if I want to grow more, that’s what I’ll look for. Will I end up with something different? Haha, maybe!

Red viridiflora tulip

Blossom Time (2)

This year the old cherry tree (‘Kanzan’) in our front garden has only about a quarter of the flowers it used to produce. It’s probably not going to survive a lot longer and I’ll miss the fluffy pink blossoms. (They’re double flowers, so not so good for bees – if I had chosen the tree, it would have been a single-flowered variety.)

While there may be less pink blossom, we do have lots of white cherry blossom in the garden on a young fruit tree. To me, the flowers are every bit as pretty as those of the ornamental varieties. Plus, you have the added bonus of fruit. (Or the blackbirds do, if you’re not fast enough off the mark!)

I’m not sure what this tree is now – probably a morello – because it was an impulse buy by my husband along with a plum tree. Not the best way to buy things, but I have to admit to doing the same thing with perennials. But if it is a morello, then it’s much less sour than I would expect. I like to eat them straight off the tree – but then I do like the sour cherries you get in Turkey too. Mmm!

Given how good the flower display on the fruit trees has been this year, I’m keen to somehow find a bit more space for fruit in the garden. Having some organic food of your own seems like a very good idea these days and this is a fairly easy way to do it. (But not always successful. The plum tree planted at the same time as the cherry has never yet produced fruit. It does look very pretty when it’s in flower though.)

Space may be the only problem with my plan. I have a pear tree that I bought as a bare-root plant and planted up into a large container. It’s still waiting for a home after a couple of years. (Good thing it’s in a big pot!) It should get planted out later this year, but first we have to move our greenhouse and then work out the best place for the pear. I’m looking forward to some fruit from it in the future!

You can see my post from last year about our ‘Kanzan’ cherry tree here: https://annmackay.blog/2021/05/02/frothy-pinks-cherry-blossom/

Cherry tree blossom