I have always had quite a thing for tulips & every spring for as long as I can remember I’ve bought bunches of them. This spring is a little different though, for the first time I’ve grown some on my allotment & for this tulip virgin the obsession is real!
I’ve been impressed at these hardy bulbs coping with difficult weather conditions – this cold & dry spring. The variety of colour & form - spotted in pots, front gardens, Instagram posts, bouquets & flower stalls - is astonishing, from romantic peonies to spiky lily tulips, these fabulous flowers have it all. There’s a handy guide to the numerous tulip groups available over at Sarah Raven.
The freshly cut flowers (buy UK grown not flown to reduce carbon emissions ✌🏻) have a life span of over two weeks when kept relatively cool & even their decline is joyous, blooms gradually open out wide & petals fall. Of the four varieties I’ve grown my favourites are, the frilly ‘Black Parrot’ & sleek ‘Paul Scherer’ rumoured to be the darkest tulip of them all. Such is my obsession that I asked some of my favourite flower lovers for their top tulip recommendations…
Tulips ~ Black Parrot, Angel Wings, Paul Scherer
Laura of Xyris Botanicals sustainable floral design studio & cutting garden trialled ‘Apricot Pride’ this year and this variety has fast become her favourite. “How could you not fall in love with this variety? Subtle warm peachy pink tones and extremely generous stem lengths make it the perfect tulip for a spring bridal bouquet. It reminds me of last year’s favourite, Salmon Van Eijk, when it is right at the end of its vase life as it turns ivory with the softest pearlescent pink sheen.”
Laura grows flowers on her farm in Birchington, Kent from April - November for weddings, workshops and bouquets for collection and delivery throughout Thanet. To order contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website for more information here.
Tulip ~ Apricot Pride
Edinburgh College of Art trained ceramicist Vicky Hageman grows tulips on her Whitstable allotment for cutting & piling into vases at home (of which I suspect she has a lot!).
“I’m no expert though! The varieties I grow are Copper Image, La Belle Époque, Amazing Grace and Slawa (the traditional tulip shaped flower). I also love the really long stemmed tulip Brown Sugar - it has an amazing scent. Pictured is an evening’s picking from a small raised bed. I grow enough to keep me in tulips for 5 or 6 weeks. Then I’ll sow lettuce in-between the rows, which will mature as the tulip leaves die back.”
Pictured in Vicky’s hand thrown porcelain vase, decorated with sgraffito lines. Find her these beautiful vases at Platform in Canterbury & many other stores nationwide.
Tulips ~ Copper Image, La Belle Époque, Amazing Grace and Slawa
Country Lane Flowers
Sue and Stephanie of Country Lane Flowers have a large number of beautiful tulips growing in the fields of their flower farm near Faversham.
“We’re really keen on the double ones like Amazing Grace and Antraciet (pictured) and also a parrot variety called Amazing...it’s orangey red and very frilly!”
“We love the rich colours of tulips and how those we’ve planted continue growing in the vase”.
You can order a bunch of hand tied Country Lane flowers via their website www.countrylaneflowers.co.uk or via their Instagram account @country_lane_flowers , prices start from £10 a bunch.
Tulip ~ Antraciet
Dove & Myrtle
Jane from Brighton based creative flower studio Dove & Myrtle. “My absolute favourite tulip has to be La Belle Epoque. I love La Belle Epoque for it's beautiful peony shaped flowers and breathtaking colour. Starting with tiny bruised smudges of vintage rose pink the petals turn a heavenly mocha coffee colour before fading at the edges. She's an absolute stunner and my bridal bouquet ingredient of dreams!”
“Coming a close second is another double variety with layers of frothy peony-like petals. Copper Image is very similar to La Belle Epoque in many ways and I would group them both in the ever popular ‘brown flower palette’. Warm copper petals fade to tones of apple blossom pink and apricot fading at the edges. Growing to just 35cm she's perfect to plant as a companion to taller varieties and works well mixed with most colours. This year I'm determined to plant in containers with a tall elegant single white tulip called called Clearwater. I think the contrast will be stunning.”
Formally a textile designer, Jane styles the most wonderfully wild wedding & event flowers, visit Dove & Myrtle at Studio 50 in Hove, email email@example.com or visit the botanical lifestyle website here.
Tulip ~ La Belle Époque