Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Great Spring Bulb Challenge - The Tulips

'Happy Generation' and 'Ile de France'
Last fall, Chris Tidrick threw down the gauntlet. He and I had been talking about these bulbs and those, which ones and how many we were planting, and as we both approached the 1K mark, he issued the challenge: Could we break 1000?

How long does it take a gardener to place an order for more bulbs?

Not very, and we both exceeded the milestone. Chris has been sharing his beauties as they bloom, on both Facebook and on his website, From the Soil. We both knew we'd be delirious as our gardens exploded with color this spring and I have no doubt that we'll both be planting even more this fall. (More species tulips and more daffodils for me!)

There will definitely be more 'China Town' tulips at Our Little Acre. I love
the foliage and the blooms.

By the time fall comes around and it's time to plant bulbs for spring blooming, we're mostly tired of gardening enough to not want to dig all those holes. But looking at the big picture and the promise of spring is motivation enough to soldier on and we're now reaping the joys of all that labor.

Here are some of the results of that 1000 bulb challenge. Some of them have names attached to them. Others were either a part of a mixture when they were purchased and the name isn't known, or I neglected to put a label on them when they were planted. We'll look at the tulips first:

Though we're tired of the rain and cold, the cooler temperatures mean we
get to enjoy the blooms longer.

When it's warm and the sun shines, the tulips open up. This is 'Daydream'.

These are some of the largest tulips I've ever seen!

Tulipa 'Coors' just might be my favorite tulip, with its unique coloring and
mottled foliage. In reality, I'm not sure I can choose a favorite, but this
one ranks high.

'Coors' is beautiful no matter which way you look at it!

'Elegant Lady' is a lily-flowering tulip that greets front door
visitors to our home.

As its petals fall away, 'Happy Generation' bares its soul...

'Gavota' is one of my favorite hybrid tulips.

'Yonina' is a lily-flowering tulip with a white edge.

Don't forget to look on the inside, too! ('Yonina')

I love the color mix here, but I especially like the "black" ones.

'Prinses Irene' is a long-blooming, fragrant tulip that has been around for
centuries. This is its third spring in my garden and it looks better each year.

If you want drama in a tulip, get a parrot. This 'Flaming Parrot' is not only
frilly, it's HUGE!

 They were being weighted down by all the rain and some had gotten
broken off, so I cut most of them and brought them inside.

From the moment I discovered species tulips, I loved them. I've acquired many different ones and want still more. I like to say that they're tulips "the way God made 'em." Native to the Himalayan Mountains, species tulips are smaller, with much narrower foliage. They're pretty reliable about returning and naturalize well. I like their delicate features with their sometimes shocking colors within.

'Little Beauty' is my favorite among the species tulips.

'Persian Pearl' looks like an egg when a cloudy day keeps them closed up.

Can you see the bluish-purple blush around the yellow eyes? 
This is 'Persian Pearl' too.

'Little Princess'

Tulipa humilis 'Alba Coerulea Oculata' was the first species tulip I
acquired a couple of years ago. I love its shocking purple eye.

'Tinka', another favorite species tulip.

Tulipa 'Tarda'

This is 'Tarda' too, as seen from the outside. More subtle, but still beautiful!

'Lady Jane' is white on the inside...

...and bi-colored on the outside.

'Tubergen's Gem' is a larger form of Tulipa chrysantha, which we also have.

 These are 'Red Gem' species tulips behind Hosta 'White Christmas'.

In the next post, the daffodils will strut their stuff!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

So many tulips. I hope you have time to enjoy them all. The big red one you pictured looks like a poppy in your hand. Aahhhh spring.

Christopher Tidrick said...

Beautiful, Kylee! I'm so glad a little healthy competition brought us both such beauty. :)

Samantha said...

This fall, it's tulip frenzy time. I am in awe of these blooms!

Becca's Dirt said...

Gosh Kylee I've never seen such a big selection of tulips. I love them all. It would be so hard to pick a favorite. Thats a lot of bulbs but the results are awesome.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thanks so much for sharing these gorgeous photos! I really appreciate that you've shown them in a more closed AND a more open position, as there is sometimes such a difference!

I just planted my first tulips ever last fall and was pleased as punch to see them come up this spring - Angelique, Queen of Night, and Spring Green.

I have since caught the fever and am looking forward to ordering more for this fall. Your post is incredibly helpful and I've added several names to my "tulip wish list." Can't wait for your daffodil post! Great idea!

Erin @ The Impatient Gardener said...

Just gorgeous. With every one I thought, "That one is my favorite" and then the next would come along. I can't imagine how beautiful the impact of the whole yard must be.

I only have a small area that is plantable for tulips because of the critter issues but after seeing this I'll definitely be adding more next year.

Laura @ HV Garden Journal said...

Thanks for sharing! It's always so helpful to see examples of different bulb varieties blooming in someone's garden, with names provided. It's hard to get a good idea of what to expect just seeing pix in a catalog. Really enjoyed this post.

pigbook1 said...

Tulips are my very favorite and I have a few generic (bought in a bulb mix) in my garden, but I'm hoping to plant more in the fall. do you dig your bulbs up every year? I have not found a definitive yes or no on that practice or th reason I should.
your tulips are amazing!

Kristi said...

Your tulips are gorgeous, I love all of the variety.

Janet said...

Those are the most beautiful tulips! So many very unusual ones, I love them all. The gophers ate all of my pink tulip bulbs but left the red and yellow ones alone!

Helen said...

What a beautiful display, Kylee. I love tulips, especially 'Prinses Irene', but the squirrels love them more than I do... until they take their first bite and spit it out. So I'm restricting myself to species from now on, as they don't seem to be as attractive to the furry-tailed beasts.

I've seen 'Chinatown' paired brilliantly with pink bleeding heart. The perfect colour match and contrasting forms make a stunning combo.

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