Not my cleverest idea: Tulip ‘Purissima Blonde’

My new garden is not the best place for tulips at the moment. I have been planting trees and shrubs and have had to forego the niceties of the garden. Tulips are often not very long-lasting in the garden and are low-calorie, guilt-free treats and the garden is not ready for those yet. But, among the daffs planted last autumn, which are long-term additions, I did allow myself one tulip which I planted in two pots by the front door. Ten bulbs went in each, along with three heucheras: ‘Ginger Ale’.

The tulip is ‘Purissima Blonde’ which is a recent, variegated sport of ‘Purissima’, sometimes called ‘White Emperor’ a pure white Fosteriana tulip. Fosterianas are known for their huge flowers, rather oblong in bud, that open into large, rounded stars when the sun touches them. ‘Purissima Blonde’ has the usual flowers but the otherwise rather grey leaves are deliciously striped in butter yellow, with a hint of bronze. The heucheras are a bit tardy in coming into new leaf so that clever colour association may be lost but, even worse, we have not yet painted the house the sage green that is still in cans in the shed so the ivory white flowers are not making much of a contrast with the house wall. Subtle doesn’t come near truth!

I like the leaves though.


9 Comments on “Not my cleverest idea: Tulip ‘Purissima Blonde’”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    March 31, 2020 at 10:59 am #

    Tulips are beautiful but are seldom more than a display for one year. Daffodils are better value, price-wise and as garden plants. But, no harm in treating ourselves to something nice.

  2. Jackie Knight
    March 31, 2020 at 12:07 pm #

    Still very lovely for all that.

  3. tonytomeo
    April 2, 2020 at 4:51 am #

    Is that the same as Purissima Design?

    • thebikinggardener
      April 2, 2020 at 11:22 am #

      I don’t think it is the same. ‘Purissima Design’ has narrow cream edges – I think that all the ‘Design’ tulips have narrow edges even though they are not related. I could be wrong but I think it is different.

      • tonytomeo
        April 3, 2020 at 6:19 am #

        So, they are creamy white rather than blonde? ‘Design’ variegation might be caused by an inoculated virus, which is how several unrelated varieties got the same variegation.

        • thebikinggardener
          April 3, 2020 at 10:16 am #

          I doubt that the variegation is viral but is a sectoral chimaera. It is not allowed to sell tulips with virus in Europe hence the old ‘Rembrandt’ tulips, with flower colour broken by virus are not sold – the rembrandts that are sold are not the true type.

          • tonytomeo
            April 3, 2020 at 5:40 pm #

            That is impressive that the same chimera was found in different unrelated varieties. Someone was really watching out for them. Perhaps it is relatively common in bulb production anyway, but most of us do not see it in our own gardens or landscapes; or if we do, we discard the different bulb.

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