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’

22 thoughts on “Transitory Glories: Tulips (2)

    1. I’m afraid I’m no expert on that because it’s a bit of ‘trial and error’ with me! But I have found that it helps to plant the bulbs really deeply (c. 8 inches) in well-drained soil and full sun. I have a few ‘Queen of the Night’ bulbs that have lasted many years. They are ‘Single Late Tulips’, which along with the related Darwin hybrids, seem to last for a fair few years. If you’d like tulips that go on for many years, species tulips are smaller but very dainty and will actually increase over time. The RHS has a very useful guide to long-lasting tulips here (and I’m pleased to see that the ‘Angelique’ tulip is listed there): https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/tulip/longer-lasting

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    1. Thank you Indira! That one is ‘Angelique’, a double late tulip, also described as ‘peony-flowered’ – you can see why! I’m delighted to see that I seem to have more of these this year than there were last year. πŸ™‚ They are one of the prettiest flowers here in spring.

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  1. It tickled me to read that the ‘Angelique’ has been described as ‘peony-flowered.’ That’s exactly the flower that came to mind when I saw it. Without any context, I never would have believed it was a tulip!

    It’s been so interesting for me over the past few years to read so many gardeners’ somewhat wistful ‘complaints.’ Like you, they feel that time passes too quickly, and they don’t get the opportunity to really enjoy their garden before the plants have faded. It seems curious to me because I’ve always assumed that having a garden near at hand would almost eliminate that sense of ‘missing things.’ I’m used to it, but it’s because I have to travel — at least short distances — to find flowers, and there’s never any predicting what I’ll find. I’ve always imagined a daily walk in the garden being the antidote to missing things!

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    1. I’ve heard that comment about peony-flowered tulips from other people too – so they really do live up to their name. πŸ™‚
      The problem with missing out on enjoying some flowers in the garden is a result of having gardening to do, hehe! Seems ironic, but not so surprising really, especially in springtime. There can be so much work to do that you forget to look around you and don’t notice everything that’s happening in the garden. This year I’m especially busy because I’ve been finishing off building a pond. It has taken forever but I’m at the fun stages now – and the residents are starting to move in, so I have frogs, newts and damselflies for company.
      A walk around the whole garden is a really good idea – but easy to get distracted by something that needs doing so that you forget to go round it all!

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      1. People sometimes tell me I should hire someone to do the prep work on my boats, and then just come in and varnish. I have to explain to them that the prep work is the most important. If it’s not done right, no coat of varnish will cover up the lack of attention to details! Same with the pond, I suspect. If the preparation’s not done right, the plants and creatures won’t thrive.

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      2. Absolutely true! I want the pond to last a long time, so I needed to be sure the liner was well-protected from the sharp pieces of flint that our soil is full of. Very time-consuming! And then there was working out how to make sure it was safe , e.g. that hedgehogs won’t drown in it, and dealing with a sloping site. But it has been great, keeping me usefully occupied all through covid. πŸ™‚

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  2. Gorgeous tulip pix Ann! What a true sentiment you express – I keep forgetting to watch all year round as most of my plants bloom in Spring and Summer, and then not much. Need to look into planting some that last from Fall thru Winter.

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    1. Thank you! I tend to miss things in the spring because there’s always most work to do in the garden then. It would be good to remember to look around the whole garden more, but there’s always something calling out to be done… πŸ™‚

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