Saturday, April 25, 2009

Species tulips? Big fan.


It’s hard to believe I ignored these when I first saw them in a catalog many years ago. Back then, I wanted the big Darwin hybrids or some other showier variety of tulip. These days, it’s the opposite; I’m buying more species tulip and fewer hybrids. (Though most of these “species” are actually cultivars of wild tulips.)


It’s important to remember how small these are, though. I find that they only really succeed when placed in ground cover (as above), grouped with other early spring bloomers, or as an accent with bigger perennials. Even 5-7 can look pretty measly surrounded by bare ground, where perennials have yet to emerge.


At first I sort of assumed that these would all be early bloomers or all bloom pretty much at the same time—catalog times often are incorrect depending on zone—but some of them don’t emerge until May. I’ve made some goofs “pairing” different varieties that didn’t end up blooming together. And I see this spring that I still need to fill in a few spaces between the groupings.


So far this year, I have the white/yellow turkistanica, the orange-red batalini “Bright Red,” and the enchanting magenta/gray/yellow humilis “Persian Pearl.” There are quite a number to come, as well, of course, as my hybrids, which I pretty much treat as annuals.

ADDENDUM: I am not so sure that's a batalini. It was planted a while back and I now see that batalinis are later bloomers. But I don't think it's praestans either, as it is not multi-flowering.

16 comments:

Kim said...

I planted Tulip Clusiana Lady Jane (a very sweet little thing), Tulip The Woodland, a cute little yellow one and Tulip praestans Unicum which has not yet made its appearance. I love these things, too, and I'll never plant those big, gaudy Darwin hybrids again. These little ones have such charm.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

There is hardly a tulip that I don't like. These are really pretty.

MA said...

Those are absolutely enchanting. I must have some. They fit so nicely into your garden.

Pam/Digging said...

I just discovered species tulips and find them perfect for high raised beds where you can admire them more easily. I'm hoping they will survive in Austin's heat and warm winters.

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

I'm waiting for my first species to bloom. I put them in a new bed without groundcover and I can already see what you mean. Guess I need to add that to my list of chores!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

The species Tulips do seem to be easier to incorporate into the landscape, where they look much more natural. I really like Persian Pearl.

JulenaJo said...

Lovely. I have been considering these for quite a while. Perhaps I'll pop some into the garden this fall. Thanks for inspiring!

Commonweeder said...

These tulips are beautiful. I love them but have never planted them because I thought they needed to be replaced every year or two. Can you reassure me on that point?

EAL said...

Commonweeder, they last for years, depending on variety. Some are shorter-lived than others. I throw a few in every year, but some are at least 5 years old.

donna said...

do the squirrels like these? the little #@&@%* darlings nipped off the bud of every one of my tulips bronze charm & some other hybrid just last weekend. (boston)

Sylvana said...

I have been seeing more and more of the Persian Pearls popping up all over the garden blogs. They are going on my fall list!

Merry said...

I have tulips like these popping up all over my lawn. They were planted at least three years ago.

(The previous owner had planted bulbs everywhere; the contractors who renovated put in lawn everywhere. Now I have to tiptoe through the tulips when I mow the lawn.)

ConcreteCottage said...

What I have to remind myself is that the species tulips are native to places like Turkey. They like perfect drainage and a dry climate. We have had so much dry weather down here on the Gulf Coast in the last few years that I am tempted to try some here in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

I planted them on a steep bank in Tennessee...poor soil and quick drainage. Seemed to be a good location. Since the berm was steep, I could see them easily, even tho they were small.

Love your blog :o)

lisa said...

I enjoy these too, and they really love my sandy soil. Even here in zone 4 mine are returning after 8 years!

Kylee said...

Species tulips are my favorite. I have 'Lady Jane' which has been performing for me for years. Just this year, I stole some of daughter Jenna's, so I'll look forward to those next year. Okay, so I didn't exactly steal them, I just told her I was taking some and she didn't protest.

What are the blue flowers in the last photo? I know I should know, but I don't.

EAL said...

Those are scilla, Kylee.