Thursday, 14 April 2011

Gorgeous tulips.

T. 'White Parrot' in a Parrot Tulip pot.
This strangely warm few days has brought the tulips out incredibly quickly. You can't beat tulips for an explosion of colour and ours have certainly gone kaboom in the last couple of days. So let me show you around...

Tulip 'Creme Lizard'

Along the entrance path, where you are quite likely to be greeted by Puss-Puss, I have been fairly restrained this year, with white, blue and some yellow flowers and yellow and green foliage.

I try to make each area different each year - but sometimes it is hard as some plants really struggle in certain places. The entrance path can be bitterly cold and windswept in the winter and I have had to remove two young Ilex 'Silver Queen', which keeled over just as spring arrived.
Red tulips in the courtyard garden: (Left to Right) 'Princesse Charmante', 'Roulette' and 'Rococo'

The Courtyard Garden is dominated by red, yellow and bright, sharp green foliage. This picture shows the yellow tulips 'West Point' (lily-flowered) and 'Maja' (fringed). The red in the large Buxus pot is 'Roulette', the red in the square pot is 'Princesse Charmante'. Princesse Charmante was shown in bud in last week's blog but I was wrong when I said that she smells of freesias - I was thinking of 'Ballerina', the orange lily-flowered tulip that has only just started to open.

Orange tulips 'Prinses Irene', 'Fidelio' and 'Ballerina' (the latter is small and skinny because these were planted in this large Gothic pot three years ago, bulbs planted last autumn will have fatter flowers)

The side of the courtyard garden by the Octagon is stuffed with orange, bright green, white and dark purple. Here the pots in front of the Octagon contain (top to bottom) 'Prinses Irene', 'White Parrot' and 'Fidelio'. The white narcissus is N. actaea.

My favourite of these at the moment is 'Prinses Irene' (see below in a straight-sided basket pot) because of the lovely clear orange of her tepals with the bonus of a broad purple streak on the back of each one - this detail is TELLING you what to combine with this tulip!

Tulip 'Prinses Irene' and
Anemone blanda 'White Splendour'

Tulip 'Silver Parrot' in Armscote Bee Pots
 Just around the corner in the stockyard everything turns pink and purple this year. I often use grey and purple foliage with these tulips because grey-leafed plants such as Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve' so often seem to have purple flowers. The star of this year's show in the stockyard is a tulip that's new to us - 'Silver Parrot'. Its curliness isn't to everyone's taste but I love the outrageous parroty tulips most of all I think. This has coloured up in a range of pinks really beautifully and stops many people in their tracks.
 Here 'Silver Parrot' is growing through Santolina chamaecyparissus, and Viola 'Cancan'. You can just see Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve' behind it and the purple bells in the background are Fritillaria persica, which are in the next pot. Grouping the pots allows you to play with colour combinations infinitely.
Tulips 'Silver Parrot' and 'Backpacker'
with Pansy 'Can-Can'
So here's part of the same group from the other side. The purple double tulip which is just beginning to expand has the ugly name of 'Backpacker' but is a sturdy and very pretty tulip.
Tulip 'Ronaldo'
I haven't shown you everything - but if I did you would have less reason to visit the pottery! I really do have to stop messing about with photographs now and go and do some real gardening, especially as Rene has just sent me a very exciting box of dahlias and gladioli which need urgent potting up. I'll just leave you with a handsome tall, dark stranger called Ronaldo:
Oh and by the way - I really should mention that we have a bulb sale in September, we are likely to have all the above and more - we normally have about 30 different tulips plus narcissi, alliums, crocus, every bulb you need to make next spring a real riot of colour.

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