It’s interesting to watch which plants become in vogue and which fall out of favour.
Conifers seem to fall into the latter category and I think that is the result of too many being planted in the wrong place and without any real knowledge of their natural growth patterns. Choose wisely and do your research and they can be a real boon.
But for me, the plant that has come back into fashion is the tulip. I feel they became redundant because they were planted in massed ranks in bedding schemes for too long and then there was the faff about whether to lift them or not. But these days they have become favourites once more and it’s about time.
They make brilliant pot plants, liven up spring bedding schemes, give a zoosh of colour, don’t linger after their sell-by date, don’t get many pests and diseases, are cheap to buy, come in all heights and styles and some are even scented.
To start, there are the small species types like ‘Little Beauty’ and humilis ‘Persian Pearl’. They are brilliant for front of borders and rockeries, as well as for low, wide pots. Most are multi-headed and easy to transplant from pots into a well-drained soil where they will carry on for years.
Then there are the low-growing greigii and kaufmanniana types that have lovely striped foliage.
Viridiflora tulips are those that have a green stripe running up each tepal. Best known amongst these is the lily-flowered (or fluted) ‘Doll’s Minuet’ which is a cerise colour and the popular ‘Spring Green’, white with a green stripe. Look out for unusual ones coming along such as ‘Yellow Spring Green’ and the pale lilac with green stripe, ‘Greenland’.
Parrot tulips are a flamboyant bunch. Each tepal resembles a tropical bird displaying its plumage.
We were rather taken with the yellow and red ‘Flaming Parrot’ this year after they had not sold very well so I planted some into pots – these proved to be a show-stopper so maybe the pictures on the packet did not do them justice.
Of the mid-season ones, flowering from late April into May, ‘Paul Scherer’ is an absolute favourite. It is darker than ‘Queen of the Night’ and shorter-stemmed, making it more resilient to the weather. Along with it, a lovely two-tone pink called ‘Innuendo’ created quite a stir.
Rembrandt tulips are those with a flame of a different colour on each tepal. They are so-called because they were introduced at about the same time that the genius himself was painting. I am especially fond of the white with purple flame named ‘Zurel’ which is a strong grower, reaching about 2ft in height.
Lily-flowered are my favourites because I love the elegant shape. They stand up to the weather really well and among them is the orange, scented ‘Ballerina’. Also brilliant are the white ‘White Triumphator’ and the beautiful pink ‘China Pink’ – so many to choose from.