Tulip Time!

Tulip season has come and gone for the year, but we still have the memory of those lush, colourful blooms preening prettily in the warm spring sunshine. And photos! ‘Cause pics or it didn’t grow. 😉 Or, in a couple of cases, “pics-and-I-still-have-no-idea-what-this-is.” MUST make better notes next year – or any notes at all, really – of what I bought and where I put it, because as much as a I like a nice floral surprise, I put too much work into cultivating these tender and touchy flowers not to know exactly what they are and where I stuck ’em!

With the exception of four varieties of bulb I purchased last year from the Canadian Tulip Festival (an annual event in Ottawa, Ontario dating back to 1953), all of the bulbs I’ve purchased have been from Breck’s Bulbs. I had some difficulties this season with last season’s bulbs, which, with a couple of exceptions, I left in the ground over the winter in the hopes that they would naturalize, or self-propagate, and show themselves again this year. That….didn’t quite happen. Some returned for Tulipalooza ’22, but the majority seemed to be overtaken by the rapid growth of the other plants and flowers in the garden. I suppose it’s hard to stretch and reach for the sun when you’re drowning in gargantuan hosta leaves. Lessons learned. On with the show!

Black Parrot Tulip

These fringed, variegated tulips are a favourite, and indeed, one of just a handful of 2021’s varieties that actually made it to 2022. I was pleased to see the green and dark purple flames that developed on the petals this season; last year, they were a universal purpley-black.

Brisbane Tulip

These were a fun addition to the garden this season, with their ruffled, tequila sunrise-soaked blooms. Brisbanes are short little tulips, so they may need extra protection from the ruddy rodents, but if you can keep them alive, they’ll happily bloom in your garden for weeks on end.

Canada 150 Tulip/Grand Perfection Tulip

Here are some perfectly patriotic petals, a gorgeous, be-flamed specimen by the name of a Grand Perfection Tulip. I purchased these bulbs from the Tulip Fest under the name of Canada 150, in honour of Canada’s 150th year of Confederation. I maybe didn’t have the highest hopes for these – eh, red and white stripes – but these 150s were gorgeous, growing tall and proud (standing on guard for thee?) and developing over a series of weeks into these jumbo, vibrantly striped beauties.

Guinevere Jumbo Tulip

Here’s another favourite, the Guinevere Pink Jumbo Tulip, a way early bloomer that I apparently have a great fondness for, as I’ve ordered it two seasons in a row. I love the way these humongous blooms morph over a series of weeks from pale pink, green flame’d buds to a rich, pink lemonade-filled cup of sunshine. Gosh, they’re just beautiful.

Mascotte Tulip

Here’s another beauty, a relative of the Brisbane by the name of a Mascotte Tulip. Short, compact and bursting with the most beautiful, hot pink flowers, these Mascotte Tulips never failed to put a smile on my face.

National Velvet Tulip

Here’s another beautiful pick from the Tulip Festival, this time the plush – and indeed, quite velvety-looking – National Velvet Tulip. Like the Canada Day 150s, these tall, vibrant tulips grew like mad. I don’t believe there was a dud in the whole gorgeous bunch.

Peppermint Stick Tulip

Like the Black Parrot Tulips that kicked off this post, these tiny, star-shaped Peppermint Stick Tulips are one of just a handful of varieties that I was able to carry from one season to another with minimal damage. I think placement might be doing all the hard work here – I have them snugged up against a rock in the front beds, and their daffy little heads seem to adore the residual heat.

Pretty Princess Tulip

Here’s yet another stunning pick from the Tulip Festival, this time the regally named Pretty Princess Tulip, a hot pink and orange flame’d beauty that is my pick for 2022’s MVP. I very nearly didn’t purchase this tulip, and in fact, in the late summer, I received a message from the Tulip Fest stating that whatever I had purchased was going to be replaced with these Pretty Princesses, on account of destructive flooding in Denmark that had wiped out many of their crops. I’m glad these beauties made it through, because they’re just stunning.

Showgirl Tulip

These unique Showgirl Tulips – hot pink tips with white and lilac blue flames – are another holdover from last season, although they didn’t fare as well as either the Black Parrots or the Peppermint Stick Tulips. The three tiny blooms clustered together in the top right photograph are all I was able to pull from the garden, and aside from being small, small, small, they bore virtually none of the rarely-seen-in-nature blue hue from the previous season. Bit of a bummer, that, but I was glad to see their distinctive blooms this season just the same.

Whatchimatulips

Finally, we have the big question marks of the year, this cool pink, tone-on-tone beauty (for which I have zero records to indicate what the heck it even is; I think it may be one of the two Tulip Festival switcheroos) and these stunning fuchsia and pale yellow tulips that look as though they’re lit from within. What the heck even are you guys?!

And with that, 2022’s tulip season has come to a close. Lapse in record-keeping aside, I was really pleased with how things went. With few exceptions, my bulbs bloomed beautifully, and I suffered far fewer rodent-related breakdowns than seasons past (still had a couple, including one very early morning freakout when I ran outside in my pyjamas and bare feet to yell at a squirrel accosting my bitty little Brisbanes. The neighbours have got to think I’ve slipped a cog, yeah? The squirrel certainly thought I had!)

‘Till next year, tulips!

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