tulip blue beauty, early morning, tulips, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs, blue tulip, purple tulip


Tulips have the ability to be ‘kitsch’, minimalist, cottagey, formal, statuesque and fun.


There was (is) a romantic song entitled ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’ which has the line “When its spring again, I’ll bring again, tulips from Amsterdam”.


Possibly not the most famous or memorable of songs.


But having seen the acres of tulips growing in Holland at the age of eleven, I understood why my mother thought they were an essential addition to the spring flower garden.


A popular spring flowering bulb, there are different types of tulip to suit all situations and gardening styles. I’ve given you a Tulip outline below. But really, this blog is an excuse for lots of tulip photos, singly and in combination…


Tulip Types

Tulips are divided into 15 types, based predominantly on the characteristics of  their flowers.

'broken' tulips, tulip virus

Singles are perhaps the tulip in most people’s minds with a cup shaped flower. There are both early and late season varieties.

Doubles – also known as peony tulips, for their decorative semi double and double blooms. Again there are both early and late season varieties. tulip paul scherer, tulip margarita, tulips, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs, double tulip, black tulip, red tulip

Darwin Hybrids have long lasting flowers. Good weather resistance too.

Triumphs make up the largest group of tulips, offering the widest range of colours. They are a cross between single earlies and Darwin types. tulipa prinses irene, scented tulip, tulips, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs

Parrots with feathery edged blooms. These showy Tulips are often depicted in Dutch still life floral paintings.


Fringed tulip flowers are similar to Parrot and may be mistaken one for the other if you don’t look closely.

tulip cummins, tulips, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs, fringed tulip, purple tulip

Viridifolia has green hued flowers, sometimes looking like a stripe through the petal.

pink viridifolia tulips, tulips, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs

Lily flowered most closely resemble the species tulip in flower form.

tulip tres chic, white tulips, lily flowering tulip, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs

Species Tulips – diminutive beauties that harken back to the original. There are many, not just one, species tulip.

pale orange tulips, rock garden, emmetts garden, tulips, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs, kent

Greigii are amongst the shortest varieties available and have mottled green and purple/ black foliage.

Kaufmanniana mostly have flowers which open wide like a star or water lily. Some have mottled or striped foliage

tulip prinses irene, tulip margarita, tulip paul scherer, tulip queen of night, tulips, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs, double tulip, black tulip, orange tulip, scented tulip


Combining Tulips with other Flowers in your Garden

There can be some overlap in flowering time between the daffodil and the tulip. If using containers, I generally keep to either tulip flowers or daffodils in any one pot.narcissus bridal crown, tulip blue beauty, spring flowering bulbs, scented daffodils

A different technique that works well when you’re short on space is to plant them up a container with both types of flowering bulbs. They will then flower at different times, but in the same pot.

garnet red tulipa 'havran', blue scilla peruviana, flower border, lytes carey manor house garden, national trust, somerset

A pot of deep purple tulips in between pots of bright yellow daffodils is deliciously bracing. And when the daffodils go over, replace their pots with ones filled with pale pink tulips for a total change in mood.

tulip tres chic, tulip paul scherer, tulip margarita, tulips, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs, lily flowered tulip, double tulip, white tulip, black tulip, red tulip

I like to use the Parrot types in funky or kitsch designs, but they do also suit a more restrained setting. Plant them in a border with white flowered honesty or under a white lilac.

Kaufmanniana and species tulips are excellent choices for a rockery. Their short stems and smaller blooms are best appreciated close too. I love seeing them growing near acers, the Japanese maple.

pittosporum tenuifolium tom thumb, red tulips, tulips, bulbs, spring flowering bulbs, evergreen shrub, lytes cary, cornwall

This largely pictorial blog is being posted on the first May Bank Holiday. Three days in which to admire tulip flowers in your own garden and in other peoples’.

If you’re lucky enough to live near one of the National Collections of Tulipa, take advantage to see rare varieties. For example, the Botanic Garden at Cambridge University has a National Collection of species tulips.


Related blogs you may enjoy

Tulips, Tulip-o-mania and Tulip Virus
Vodka drinking Tulips and heroic Snowdrops
Garden Visits – Lytes Cary
Six Poisonous Flowering Bulbs
The Gardening Year – Quotes and Thoughts from the Garden



[1] Max Bygraves sang ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’. It was in the UK singles chart for 25 weeks in 1958, reaching a top Number 3 slot

purple iris and orange tulip - RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010

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