A twist on tulips
The idea of tulips with green blooms is not immediately appealing – after all we grow tulips for their colours. But the group called Viridiflora tulips have much to commend them. Their tepals (petals) are usually distinctive with the central green streak, of varying width, and seem to accentuate the coloured part. A reason I like them a lot is that they are often very long-lasting, as though the green tissue that always attached the tepal to the stem, keeps it attached for longer. They don’t hang on looking awful though. Their shape and character often changes as they age.
By far the most popular and common is ‘Spring Green’ which sounds as though it is good for you too. The ivory and green flowers have considerable appeal but I prefer those with lily-flowered blooms of a more elegant shape so I don’t ‘adore’ ‘Spring Green’. There is a sport with red streaks called ‘Flaming Spring Green’ which is much more colourful. ‘Greenstar’ is more lily-flowered in shape and much nicer, in a similar colourway. Although it is globular in form, ‘Groenland’ (‘Greenland’), in pink and green is a great thing and the flowers last for ages. It sported to make the Parrot, ‘Green Wave’ which is very over-the-top. I like it a lot but it is not to everyone’s taste. It has also sported to create ‘Red Wave’.
There are some truly green tulips – that are all green, such as ‘Evergreen’ but I have not taken the plunge yet. I am not sure if I really want one – but curiosity will almost certainly get the better of me, eventually.
But I did plant two Viridifloras last autumn and they are now in bloom. ‘Green Mile’ has it all: it is green (and yellow), has a lily-flowered shape and the inner tepals are fringed at the tips. I was worried about these as they grew because virtually all the flowers were bent below the horizontal as they started to develop. I was worried because of the guilt I felt at planting them so late – they were an impulse, late purchase in a sale and didn’t arrive till late December. Tulips are very tolerant of late planting but I was pushing it a bit!
But the buds turned to the vertical as they started to show colour and they now stand proud and colourful. I love their zingy lemon and lime colours and they look as though they will last ages.
The other last-minute tulip was ‘Florosa’, this time in pink. As the flowers age the pink is getting deeper and the tepals twist and flex as they develop. Both are long-stemmed and great for cutting which is the best way to appreciate their beauty and I have three in a vase as I write and they are spectacular.
There is something for everyone in the tulip world…
I recall that ‘Spring Green’ was one which lasted for a good number of years in the garden.
Huh, interesting and pretty!
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