It’s not really tulip time – after all, the daffodils have barely begun and with a return to normal, cooler temperatures they’ll be around for a while – but I can’t ignore the tulips that have started to bloom in my garden. And the hundreds more that are quickly getting ready to bloom. I went a bit wild last fall, densely planting them in the hopes of having more colour and more cutting opportunities.
So it’s a tulip that leads this week’s Six. I pictured it in bud last week, here, and several, the ones exposed to full day south sunshine, opened brilliantly this week. It’s Tulipa turkestanica, a botanical tulip that has many flowers on each six to eight inch stalk. The yellow innards go well with my mainly daffodil themed spring garden, I think. This is one of the most photogenic flowers I’ve ever had. Tiny and spectacular.
Other early blooming tulips have also started – a Greigii called Red Riding Hood and this unknown yellow and red variety. They’ve both done well for several years, but the stalks have become shorter and the flowers smaller. I’ve been thinking about either replacing or augmenting their numbers…
Here’s an example of ‘densely planted’ – I packed a row of white tulips at the base of the pea trellis – these should look nice in front of the red house, but mainly they’re intended for cutting, adorning the dining room table or giving to friends. I hope the peas I planted last Sunday will sprout all right – I planted them just behind the tulips.
Hyacinths have also been shooting up this week, and showing their colour, and yes, even opening. I planted some new ones last fall, a lovely purply colour, but it’s these blue ones that always open first. You can tell they’ve been around a while – gone is the huge head with dozens and dozens of floret. I still love it though.
Peonies have also broken ground, so to speak. The earliest is the Fernleaf Peony – Paeonia tenuifolia. A colleague gave me a tiny root many years ago. It doesn’t spread quickly in our rocky soil – perhaps too dry in the dead of summer – but it comes back year after year and gives us some truly gorgeous flowers, which are almost as entrancing as its frilly, lacy foliage.
Alliums are up, of course, but a few weeks from blooming. I’m more and more amazed at the huge variety of species in the genus Allium. Different sizes and shapes, different growth habits, different hardiness. One thing I’m noticing this year is how happily they reproduce. Here are two examples. The first photo is what appears to be a patch of grass, perhaps, or chives. But no, these are mainly baby Allium ‘Purple Sensation,’ growing because I let the flowers stalks of the large plants, you can see on the right, stay in the garden all summer, and of course they dropped their seed. The second photo shows A. karataviense seedlings – a bunch of narrow grass-like leaves with the seed husk still attached to the tip. Also in the photo is the emerging ‘adult’ plant – it’s a squat Allium with a large tennis-ball size pink flower. Beautiful foliage.
I’m going to wrap up this week’s Six with what will remain the star of my April garden – Narcissus. The dwarf and medium sized daffs have been open for more than a week, and the larger ones have now started. Some varieties have just come through the ground so I should have joyful yellow for many weeks to come. If you’d like to see Six things in gardens around the world, be sure to head over to The Propagator‘s site.