By Liz Fallon, Cotswold Posy Patch
At Cotswold Posy Patch, we love growing tulips! We're captivated by their stunning colours, bold shapes and the eye-catching markings that are revealed when they open up. The varieties available through the supermarkets and wholesalers tend to be short stemmed with small heads so artisan flower growers usually deliberately grow larger, more unusual varieties as these are more popular with customers. When choosing which varieties to grow, we tend to focus on the large Darwin hybrids and the later flowering large cottage garden varieties, plus some of the parrots and doubles. We treat them as annuals, pulling the whole plant out of the ground, bulb and all, in order to get as long a stem length as possible.
There are so many amazing tulip varieties that it would be impossible to include all of our favourites, so here are our top 5.
Probably our favourite tulip! It is reliably amazing every year and has huge heads on very long, strong stems. It starts a pale pink with green stripes up the buds but opens to a lovely soft pink with striking markings visible when the flower opens up. The beauty of the flower is matched by that of the foliage which has delicate pink stripes on the leaves.
Another close contender for the top spot. This is a sought after variety in pale blush peach, very much the colour of the moment. As with Sweet Impression, it has huge heads and long, sturdy stems. This one is very popular with florists.
This variety starts off a subtle shade of apricot but as it ages and its large frilly petals open up fully, it reveals a fiery mix of tropical colours with flashes of green.
A wonderful white and green parrot tulip. It is particularly stunning in wedding arrangements.
La Belle Époque'
Tulips look wonderful en masse on their own but also add a striking focal point to mixed flower arrangements. Here, tulip 'La Belle Époque', often considered a tricky colour to combine with others, looks stunning with wallflower 'Sunset Apricot', Eschscholzia californica 'Alba' and tulip 'Alabaster'.