5 favourite tulips

Each year I try to pick a few tulips new to me, or cultivars I haven’t grown for a while. Most of the new tulips I grow are in pots rather than in the ground. This spring’s favourites included:

Double flowered tulip ‘Silk Road’

‘Silk Road’ was early into flower and then just kept on giving, the flowers developing more raspberry speckling over time. Registered in 2013.

Parrot tulip ‘James Last’

I love parrot tulips, although some can be disappointing in reality, (I do wish flamboyant red and green ‘Rococo’ was taller stemmed). I couldn’t resist the name ‘James Last’ after the German band-leader, who started his big orchestra ‘non-stop’ music in the swinging sixties. Later flowering and very long-stemmed. Registered in 1974.

Species tulip T linifolia

What a cheerful small species tulip! Here is T linifolia loving the sunshine. Native to Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Lily flowered tulip ‘White Triumphator’

An old favourite, ‘White Triumphator’. This one is in the ground and has come up again for the last four years, (some tulips don’t reappear). Later flowering with long-lasting flowers. If you want a succession of white tulips, ‘Purissima’ flowers earlier, it is more bowl-shaped and blowsier and also seems to come up again. Registered in 1942 and 1943 respectively.

Species tulip T sprengeri

I have had this Tulipa sprengeri for years, but although it sets seed profusely it does not spread about for me. In reality it is a rich red, and one of the last tulips to flower. Originally native to Turkey.

Tulipa sprengeri, Stockton Bury Garden, Herefordshire, Late May