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Sweetheart Tulip: Part 1

Sweetheart tulips give good value for the money. They’re beautiful from before the flowers come out until the blooms are in their last, translucent shreds.

Even the foliage is beautiful, check out the pink edges. And that pink color gets echoed in little splashes on the opening blooms.

Sweetheart is one of the Fosteriana (also called Emperor) tulips. The wild form is a brilliant red, blooming in the crevices of the Zeravshan mountains in Tajikistan, and probably other places as well. It’s very likely one of the tulips travelers along the Silk Route rejoiced in.

For some reason, it’s hard to find Red Emperor, also known as Mme Lefeber (the closest to the species, if not exactly like it). But there are a lot of other colors available; a new one seems to come out every year.

The Fosterianas are really early for tulips—Sweetheart blooms along with mid-season daffodils. This year, it’s giving out at about the time some of the late-season narcissus (Thalia, Hawera, Salome) are coming in.

As they age, Sweetheart tulips deepen in color.

For the last several days I’ve had the pleasure of having Sweetheart blooming alongside Apricot Beauty and the fading Gipsy Queen hyacinth, both of them luminescent salmon. And as fortune would have it, my Lemon Sorbet violas have finally taken off, so I’ve had symphony of peach and pale yellow.

But I digress. Which means I have to save the rest of the pictures and writeup for the next post. Feel free to leave comments and questions (such as: why are you taking up two posts on one tulip?)


Theodore James, Tulip, (photos by Harry Haralambou), Harry N. Abrams, 2003

Janis Ruksans, Buried Treasures, Timber Press, 2007

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