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Red-and-white Tulips


‘World Expression’, a truer red than the other, rosier types. You just can’t take a bad picture of this tulip. As it ages, the cream background turns white.

Each year I tend to have a theme in my fall bulb order.

Not in the whole order-it’s too big for that. But I indulge myself in trying new things in one area-I might order a lot of fritillaries one year, or all the dark-purple tulips I could find (one of them, purported to be plum, turned out flaming orange and scarlet, with fringes).

This year, it was red-and-white tulips. I couldn’t get every single one of them; there are so many kinds I couldn’t afford it. Or fit them all in my garden. (Though it’s interesting to imagine I could, and run the gamut from the beautiful graceful high-priced single bulb of ‘Zomerschoon’ to the blaring ‘Burning Heart’, which looks scarily big and garish in its picture-but you never know, it could be great in person.)

The trouble with these themes is that it’s pretty hard to limit myself to just one. I really wanted to order at least fifty ‘Dreaming Maid’ tulips (misty lilac, shading to a rosy-tinged white edge) to go with my pale ‘Apricot Beauties’ this spring. And of course, each year, there are more bulbs which I consider indispensable to my garden. So-where do I put them all? And what is a reasonable proportion of my income to spend on bulbs?

As I was saying. This year it was all red-and-white tulips. I got four kinds, from midseason to late types, in order to enjoy them longer. You might want to try a few for yourself. (Remember, if you want the best selection of spring bulbs, you need to order them in summer.)


‘Lady Jane’ tulips spread out in the daytime. I could (and probably will) do an entire post, or two, on this wonderful species-like tulip that comes back every year.


Tulip ‘Marilyn’, one of the lily-flowering late types, with pointed petals. Pointed petals were considered desirable in the Ottoman Empire, where tulips were first turned into garden plants in elaborate hybridization programs.


‘Sorbet’, new to me this year, starts out creamy white with pale pink markings, and matures into this. A perfect match with ‘Marilyn’ in the background.

Next post: tulip parties







{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Nancy Bond June 7, 2008, 8:22 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! Some of them look like beautiful candy canes. I love your red and white theme; I can’t imagine ever tiring of color like that!

  • ericat June 7, 2008, 7:21 pm

    thank you for the visit at my aloes. I saw photos of the Huntington garden . Really lovely. I can imagine it is even better being there. Your lilies are “pretty as a picture”. There are many winter growing lilies that grow very well between our aloes as the lilies do not need much watering.

  • Pomona Belvedere June 11, 2008, 6:41 am

    @Nancy – I used to really dislike red, I guess I am making up for lost time. My main problem now is how to include them and the rest of the ones that look so great in the catalogues right now.

  • Pomona Belvedere June 11, 2008, 6:45 am

    @ericat – I really enjoyed seeing all those aloes, especially the ones in their natural environments. I’m going to be doing some posts on succulents later, partly just to prove that I can grow something besides tulips, partly because I love photographing them.

    I’d be interested to know which lilies do well with aloes. Even the native ones from my dry-summer area grow in moist places, and I’ve never seen any lilies in the bulb catalogues that don’t need water through the seasons. Except Madonna lilies, which keep thwarting my attempts to grow them.

  • Yuyu October 24, 2015, 12:57 pm

    Dear Grant, Beautiful flowers and pltans often make a rather blah room look great in a designer magazine photo. But magazines never tell you what they are and if you are interest the reader has to try to hunt them down. I very much appreciate that you frequently note flowers and pltans in your posts. Thank you, Stephanie

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