Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tulip Trysts

A recent post by Carol, at May Dreams Garden, reminded ProfessorRoush that he previously started a draft blog entry on the species tulips in his landscape, the few colorful little clumps that add very little to my overall garden ambiance, but which mean so much to me as they sneak back into the garden each year.

Species tulips, you see, are one of my garden guilty pleasures, a little niche of my garden that others seldom discover, visible and yet hidden behind the more blatant garden performers.  In my garden, alternatively Zone 5 or Zone 6 depending on the whims of weather and weather maps, a few species tulips return reliably, while large and showy Dutch tulips return in annually diminishing numbers until they finally just don't return at all.  

'Little Beauty'
Such a species tulip is Tulipa hageri 'Little Beauty', photographed at left, a  4-6 inch tall dwarf (or to be politically correct height-challenged), fuchsia flower with a slate- or cornflower blue star-shaped  center inside a narrow white zone.  A daytime lover, 'Little Beauty' can be enjoyed only in the sunshine because she opens up her flowers every morning and closes them every evening, an exhibitionist by day and shy at night.  She is supposed to naturalize well, but mine seems to have confined themselves to a single clump, her survival in Kansas perhaps dependent on some combination of light, moisture and soil unique to that spot in my landscape.  
Tulipa clusiana var. chrysantha
A similar "one-bunch" species tulip for me is Tulipa clusiana var. chrysantha, the "Lady Tulip", originally thought to be native to the Middle East, but some more recent authorities believe it to be native to Spain.  Many T. clusiana are red and white, but my variety, 'Cynthia' is a subdued red and yellow blend, brighter if the springtime has been cloudier on average.  A little taller than 'Little Beauty', about 8 inches in my garden, the buds are also larger and longer and they also are shy to display their beauty at night or on rainy days.  To search for mine, you need to go to the westernmost point of my front landscape, where they return year after year to greet the afternoon sun.

If you're in search of a similar guilty garden pleasure, I'd recommend planting both or either of these little ladies in an out-of-the-way place of your garden.  You all know what I'm talking about; a spot with a gardening "no-tell-motel" sort of feel, away from the beaten path, a seedy spot where you can sneak away and enjoy some brief illicit pleasure, just you and them.  The best meeting times between gardener and species tulip are always, as one would expect, in the middle of the day, a gardening nooner of sorts.  Mea culpa, with these little Sirens in my garden, I can easily be be accused by a careful observer of slipping home more often at noon for a couple of weeks each April.  Mrs. ProfessorRoush thinks the frequent visits are for her company, but you can keep a secret, can't you?   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your interest in my blog. I like to meet friends via my blog, so I try to respond if you comment from a valid email address rather than the anonymous And thanks again for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...