callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

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Of course, it rained all day yesterday, so no gardening got done. Today all I managed was to deadhead the daffodils which needed it. I wish other people would follow my good example. Daffodils delight us long enough as it is and the sight of dead ones is grim indeed.

The new usericon is Tulip 'Ballerina'. (It's actually a subtler colour than the pic suggests, with more orange in it.) This is currently my utter favourite, partly because it has actually survived our clay soil and armies of slugs to come up three years in a row. Last year I had wonderful wallflowers with it, which was quite a Riot of Spring but, as reported earlier, there are no walflowers this year. I have spent a fortune in the past on tulips, especially the lovely Viridiflora ones, but they shine for a season and then succumb. Some people hold that you should lift all tulips, dry them off and store for replanting. This is supposed to prevent disease but who can possibly have the time or space? I'm sure mine would rot rather than dry.

I absolutely love species tulips and have grown quite a few in the past, usually in pots. Tulipa acuminata is a gorgeous little thing with narrow, pointed petals flamed red and yellow. Tulipa clusiana (named for the Dutch botanist Clusius) is a very pretty pink and white. For a rockery, if you have one, Tulipa batalinii (I suspect this has been reclassified as something else) is fab: I love the form 'Apricot Jewel'.

Heigh ho, every year I drool over the catalogues and resolve that next year I will have more tulips. The problem is planting. With daffodils, the earlier you get them planted, the better, so you can do the job in pleasant September sunshine. Tulips are the opposite and too often foul weather in November/December means soggy ground and, I'm ashamed to say, sometimes tulips I have bought remain in the shed, unplanted.

For people who like to read about plants, Anna Pavord's book The Tulip tells you everything you could want to know about tulips and their history and has some ravishing illustrations.
Tags: books, daffodils, gardening, tulips

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