Growing to a height of less than 12 in. this section is especially useful for bedding, though it must be said that as most varieties are suitable for forcing they are far more frequently used for this purpose than for outside flowering. They have little value as cut flowers for the blooms lack substance and are too short in the stem and it is a fact, though surprisingly so, that the double early tulips, flowering at the same time outdoors from late April onwards are generally preferred for bedding schemes. For pot culture for early new year flowering, the single early varieties are on their own – but for bedding, planted 4 in. apart, they should not be as neglected as they are at present. The doubles will bloom at the same time and though possessing more substance they are no more brilliant and have not the daintiness of some of the early singles.SINGLE EARLY TULIPS

For a display of great brilliance, try a small bed of the primrose yellow Madame Gevers, growing amidst a cover of Primula Wanda or the richer crimson-coloured Rubin. Both the tulips and the primroses will be in bloom from mid-April and remain a mass of colour until mid-May, when the Darwin and Cottage tulips come into bloom. The pure white variety, Pelican, may be used, also with a crimson or blue primrose. Primula Blue Horizon, or the darker blue-flowered Buckland Belle, are most attractive. Or use primrose Snow Cushion, with tulip Crown Imperial, which is crimson-red, edged yellow and possesses the perfume of clove pinks, one of the few tulips to carry fragrance. The primroses should be planted io in. apart with a tulip between each clump. They may be taken up at the end of May along with the tulips and replanted into a shaded border, but do not divide them too much – they look so lovely when a cushioned mass of bloom. As they come into bloom first, the early tulips should be planted in October. Some lovely varieties apart from those already mentioned are:

  • Golden Mascot (4 in.). Pure golden yellow.
  • Ibis (3 in.). Peach pink, shaded carmine.
  • Keizerskroon (4 in.). Striking red and yellow striped, slightly taller growing and later flowering.
  • Prince Carnival (4 in.). Yellow, flushed red.
  • Prince of Austria (3 in.). Pure orange and possessing a sweet perfume.
  • Van der Neer (3 in.). Dwarf-growing and bearing a bloom of deep purple.
  • White Hawk (4 in.). Purest white.

These are all bedding varieties and not very suitable for forcing, with the exception of Prince of Austria, though they may be cool grown in pots and will bloom from the end of March.


This is perhaps the most valuable of the numerous section. They all force well and will follow on the earliest flowering varieties of the early single section – they may be cool-grown in pots when they will give a colourful display and they may also be used for the cut-flower trade as they grow to a height of about 14 in. Outside they remain long in bloom and are an ideal bedding plant. In this way they look most attractive when planted with the April-flowering mossy saxifrages, whose daintiness acts as a contrast to the fullness of the tulip bloom. Or try the early April-flowering double daisies, especially those three dainty flowering varieties, the brilliant scarlet Rob Roy, the salmon pink Dresden China, and their white counterpart. The bulbs should be planted about 6-8 in. apart, slightly further apart than the single varieties.

They may also be grown under frames for cutting throughout April and even earlier in favourable districts, and even without a greenhouse a display may be enjoyed almost uninterrupted from the late February flowering of the Kaufmanniana species, to the completion of the late flowering Parrot Tulip, Fantasy, which is the last of all the tulips to remain in bloom in my garden. Some brilliantly coloured varieties, all of which should be planted 3 in. deep are:

  • Bonanza. Deep carmine-pink, edged yellow. Taller growing than most doubles.
  • Boule de Neige. Very dwarf and bearing a large bloom of purest white.
  • Dante. A new variety of intense fiery scarlet.
  • Electra. A glorious shade of dark cherry red.
  • Mr. Van der Hoeff. Probably the best pure yellow.
  • Murillo. White, tinted rose and possessing a sweet perfume. Peach Blossom. Rich rose pink.
  • Tea Rose. Soft yellow, flushed pink and salmon. Though an older variety, still one of my favourites.
  • Kordes. A new introduction, the colour being intense yellow, flushed orange-red.
  • Willemsoord. Another variety of recent introduction, a grand bedder, bearing bloom of a rich crimson shade.


Coming into bloom towards the middle of May and flowering on stems zo in. tall, this is a section that should be more widely used, for the bloom is valuable for cutting whilst the flowering period will bridge any gap between the early flowering varieties and the later May flowering Darwin and Cottage tulips. They do not force well except the variety Clara Carder, which is more dwarf-growing and bears a bloom of an attractive shade of Tyrian purple. This is a useful tulip for following on the early flowering doubles under glass. Those recommended for bedding are:

  • Coxa. Scarlet, tipped white and fairly dwarf.
  • Nissa. Rich yellow, shaded crimson.
  • Symphonea. Delicate shell pink. The double form of Pride of Haarlem.
  • Uncle Tom. Deep mahogany red.


This is a section of more recent introduction and especially valuable for their ability to withstand adverse weather conditions, when they come into bloom, during the last days of April. The blooms are brilliantly coloured and borne on strong, thick stems 16-18 in. tall. This is also a valuable section for bridging any gap between the early flowering doubles and singles and the later May-flowering varieties. They are particularly attractive when planted with the miniature polyanthus, Lady Greer and Fair Maid, which come into bloom at the same time. The dainty yellow Lady Greer looks particularly delightful with the soft mauve Algiba – and the mahogany red polyanthus Fair Maid makes a pleasing contrast with the pure white tulip Kansas. The Triumph tulips are especially useful for the exposed garden even as a substitute for the taller Darwins – or the Darwins may be planted in a position where they will be partially sheltered from strong May winds, the Triumphs being used for a more open situation.

Of the varieties most suited to bedding other than those already mentioned, the following are selected for their sturdy habit, with planting depths:

  • Denbola (3 in.). Striking combination of deep crimson, edged cream. A new variety.
  • Hindenburg (4 in.). Recent introduction, the large blooms being of garnet red, edged yellow.
  • Korneforus (4 in.). A lovely variety of bright cherry red. Princess Beatrix (3 in.). Vivid scarlet, edged orange.
  • Winter Gold (3 in.). A wonderful shade of deep lemon yellow.
  • Zimmerman (5 in.). Shell pink, flushed silver. Possibly the best April tulip for growing in frames or under cloches, but it does not like forcing conditions.


Being a distinct break from the Darwin range from which most are a ‘sport’, with their unusual fringed petals and vivid striped and blotched markings, the Parrots should be more widely grown. The blooms are large, possibly rather too large for some people and whilst most attractive as cut bloom, they are at their best planted in beds of separate varieties. Or to be more original, try a hundred bulbs in say ten varieties, planted at random for a real harlequin display. Flowering longer than any tulips, right into June, the Parrots will provide a display of the utmost fascination, especially striking are they when planted against a background of cupressus trees or to the front of a sheltered border. One or two varieties grow rather too tall, the lilac-rose Discovery is one, growing to a height of about 30 in. and the large blooms tending to fall over when besieged by wind and rain. None are lovelier than the first of all the Parrots, the salmon pink splashed with green variety, Fantasy, a ‘sport’ from the old favourite Clara Butt, also the vivid Orange Favourite, which carries a rich perfume.

Others, all of which may be planted 4 in. deep, are:

  • Blue Parrot. Vivid purple with the petal edges particularly broken and fringed.
  • Fire Bird. A vivid scarlet ‘sport’ from Fantasy.
  • Red Champion. Rosy red, a variety which forces well.
  • Sunshine. A golden yellow of great beauty only 18 in. tall – is a grand bedding variety.


The result of a cross between the very earliest flowering singles and the Darwins, their flowering period does indeed fall between the two, opening their bloom in the open at the end of April, while several varieties may be forced indoors as early as the Early Flowering Singles. Early Queen and King of the Reds may be taken indoors the first week of December, followed by Orange Wonder and Mrs. E. H. Krelage, about the last day of the year, with Mozart and Scarlet Admiral, towards the end of January. Other varieties can be brought on in pots in the home or cold greenhouse and will bloom during March and early April until the outdoor plantings are showing colour late in the month. From the twenty-five varieties I know, some of the loveliest are:

  • Her Grace. The brightest possible scarlet.
  • Imperator. Old rose.
  • Orange Wonder. Rich orange, shading to a lighter edge.
  • Pink Picture. Ivory-white delicately margined with rose pink. Piquante. A striking new variety of crimson-red with a gold margin.
  • White Sail. Rich cream shading off to full white.


For those who like the more sedate colours, the bronze, coffee, port wine and Burgundy shades, this section will satisfy their taste. Tallest growing of all tulips the Breeder’s are best planted in beds against a wall or a wattle hurdle fence. They look superb in small beds against the house and never more charming than when mixed with Darwins of a colour that will tone with each other. For instance, the real brown-coloured Dom Pedro, which also possesses a noticeable fragrance, combines most attractively with the rich yellow Darwin tulip, Golden Age, and both grow to a height of 2 ft. Or try the orange and brown shaded Dillenburg, with the vermilion-coloured Darwin, City of Haarlem. Other Breeder tulips of unusual colouring are:

  • Cherbourg. Rich golden bronze, flushed purple.
  • J. J. Bowman. Crushed tomato red, edged gold.
  • Panorama. Produces a large crimson-red flower on only stems and is ideal for an exposed position.
  • Tantalus. Dullest yellow, flushed bronze and lilac.

The Breeders will not force well, but may be grown in a cold-house frame or under cloches for cutting. Plant 3-4 in. deep.


A small section flowering during May and June on 1-ft. Stems. The bloom is striped with contrasting colours. They will bloom well under conditions of fairly gentle forcing and will come into bloom in early March indoors. A recent introduction of charm is Cordell Hull of a rich red colour, feathered and striped white.


This is indeed the largest and most important section covering many dozens of varieties, many being forced in vast quantities to supply the early spring market, others being planted in beds by the millions, both for outdoor cutting and display. They will in this way give a succession of bloom from early March until the end of June. Those grown under frames or cloches in favourable districts should be covered early in February and will be in bloom from mid-March. The amateur who has no greenhouse and who wishes to enjoy some bloom in the home, should plant against a wall or hurdle fence in a position of full sun, and late in February should rear a frame or Dutch light over the bulbs as soon as showing above the soil. Draught can be excluded from the ends by draping a sack and holding it into position by a large stone which will prevent it from flapping about. By this simple method bloom will be ready for cutting from mid-April and the lights can then be used for hardening plants from early May.

There are many lovely colour schemes to be enjoyed with both Darwin and Cottage tulips. Vivid red or orange tulips growing from a bed of Primrose Dame wallflowers – or mauve tulips mixed with a bed of Ivory White wallflowers. Select a wallflower which does not grow too tall, 13 in. is ideal, so that the blooms of the tulips will be held clearly above the wallflowers. A striking effect is the combination of the vivid red Scarlet Emperor wallflower, with the huge pure white tulip, Glacier – or a red tulip with a white wallflower. In the north, the winter weather frequently takes its toll of wallflowers and those that do survive cannot be counted on to give an attractive display. As a substitute, I would suggest planting either the shell pink or white arabis, which can be planted with the tulips in October and removed when the bulbs are lifted in June. The pink arabis looks particularly charming with the new deep violet-blue tulip, Demeter. Or try planting the Early Summer flowering tulips with a bed of violas or pansies, not the mixed coloured varieties, but those rich self-colours like Coronation Gold and the rich sky-blue Ullswater. The navy blue Emperor William also makes a most attractive colour scheme, planted beneath the rich red Farncombe Sanders tulip, or used with the primrose yellow Cottage variety, Mother’s Day. When finished flowering, the bulbs may be lifted and trenched to die back while the pansies can be left to be interplanted with summer bedding plants.

My own particular favourite flower for carpeting is Myosotis, the forget-me-nots of our woodlands, which few realize can be obtained in a wide range of lovely shades and which will flower over a long period. For planting with the Mendel tulips, the large flowered and early myosotis, Empress, is lovely, and the deep indigo, Royal Blue, comes in a little later. Another lovely forget-me-not is Messidor, with its flowers of richest blue, while two for very late flowering are Blue Ball and Indigo Blue, both of very compact habit. Some of the loveliest tulips in this section with planting depths and correct month are:

  • Allard Pierson (4 in. October). Rich crimson-maroon. Aristocrat (3 in. October). A lovely new Darwin of deep rose pink, silver at the edges.
  • City of Haarlem (3 in. November). Vivid vermilion with an attractive black base.
  • Clara Butt (4 in. November). Salmon rose and grown by the million for cold-frame culture, outdoor cutting and for bedding.
  • Demeter (3 in. November). New, of a rich violet shade.
  • Golden Age (4 in. November). A superb yellow, the blooms carried on sturdy stems. Ideal for cloche work.
  • King George V (4 in. November). Large, tall-growing, cherry red, the best of its colour.
  • Mrs. Grullemans (3 in. October). Rich creamy white, the bloom being of beautiful form.
  • Niphetos (3 in. November). A superb variety, the bloom being the colour of Jersey cream, flushed deeper yellow.
  • Rev. H. Ewbank (4 in. November). A grand rich mauve variety for outdoor bedding.
  • Sultan (3 in. October). Of darkest maroon, almost black. Most attractive when planted with a white or cream variety.
  • Victoire D’Oliviera (4 in. November). Magnificent deep crimson. William Copeland (3 in. November). Pure lavender, the earliest forcing Darwin.
  • Yellow Giant (4 in. November). Bright buttercup yellow.


Also known as single late- or May-flowering tulips. They are similar to the Darwins in every way and a number of varieties will readily force. Several varieties have an oblong-shaped bloom, others with almost pointed petals, while a few are lily-flowered. Art shades and particularly yellows predominate and look delightful when two or three varieties are planted round a raised bed, those with a dwarf habit growing to the centre. One of the most delightful displays I ever saw was of a circular bed of Cottage tulips in which half a dozen varieties were used. In the centre was the very late-flowering Caledonia, which bears a vivid scarlet flower on I 8-in. stems. Next came Orange King, and then the attractively coloured Princess Margaret, with its rich yellow blooms, edged and shaded orange. The gorgeous pale yellow, Mother’s Day, was next, then the orange red Dido, and finally the deep buttercup Yellow Emperor. If one is looking for a yellow tulip to plant with the scarlet or violet-coloured Darwins, a large selection will be found in this section ranging from the creamy yellow Ellen Willmott to the deep golden yellow of Mrs. Moon. Others with their correct planting depths and time are:

  • Argo (3 in. November). Golden yellow, splashed red.
  • Belle Jaune (4 in. October). Clear primrose, with a long bloom.
  • Golden Harvest (3 in. October). Lemon-yellow, the bloom being of largest proportions.
  • Inglescombe Yellow (4 in. October). The latest yellow.
  • Mrs. John T. Scheepers (4 in. November). Bright golden yellow. Vlammenspel (3 in. October). Rich yellow, shaded red.
  • Wall Street (3 in. November). Soft primrose yellow, good for frame culture.


While the sections previously described are grown and known by thousands, few tulip lovers know more than one of the many delightful and most useful species. Since the war several of the species Kaufmanniana, the water-lily tulip, have become better known and rightly so, for they come into bloom towards the end of February and are charming planted in a rockery where they will increase in the same way as muscari and miniature daffodils. But how many gardeners know the tiny copper-coloured T. Hageri from Greece, easy to grow and quite inexpensive – or T. Sperengeri from Turkey, the latest of all tulips, producing its scarlet flowers on 2-in, stems right into July if planted in a partially sheltered position? For lovers of a rock garden, or those who possess an alpine house, here is a selection that will provide the greatest joy for the first six months of the year.

  • Tulipa acuminata. The old horned tulip, yellow, striped scarlet, the blooms having strange long red tips on the petals. Rather taller growing than most of the species.
  • T. Australis. Produces its yellow, flushed red star-shaped blooms on 6-in. stems. When in the bud stage they nod in the wind like a snowdrop. At their best throughout April.
  • T. chtysantha. A most inexpensive variety flowering during May, bearing its long-shaped yellow blooms, striped red on the outside, on 9-in. stems.
  • T. Clusiana. The Lady Slipper tulip named in honour of our old friend Dr. Clusius, the great tulip breeder of the early seventeenth century. The petals are thin, the blooms long and pointed – creamy white with cherry-coloured markings.
  • T. Eichleri. A magnificent species for a rockery as this is the most brilliant of all tulips. The large vermilion blooms have a silver stripe down the outer petals and when opened, a black centre zone surrounded by a golden band. In bloom early in April.
  • T. Fosteriana prineeps. Dazzling crimson, the flowers carried on 8-in, stems and coming into bloom late in March.
  • T. Hageri. A tiny species bearing a number of tiny copper red blooms on 6-in. stems.
  • T. Kaufmanniana. This is the water-lily tulip from Turkestan, coming into bloom in February and opening into huge lemon and pink bloom, very similar in appearance to a water-lily.
  • T. linifolia. A wonderful April-flowering variety, the small scarlet blooms are carried on 6-in, stems which are also scarlet, giving a most striking effect.
  • T. Marjoletti. The blooms are primrose yellow, flushed red on the outsides and borne on r 8-in. stems. Lasts well in water when cut.
  • T. praestand Fusilier. One of the most valuable alpine tulips of very dwarf habit, the flaming orange blooms are borne four or five to a stem between attractive grey leaves. Comes into bloom late in March.
  • T. Saxatilic. Must have a dry, warm position and a soil containing plenty of grit and sand. The bulbs should be planted deeply. The delightful silvery lavender blooms are produced throughout May. Its glossy green foliage also adds to its charm.
  • T. sylvestris. This is the true wild tulip of Europe which seeds itself and should be left undisturbed. Lovely when planted in short grass where the fragrant yellow star-like blooms nod in the April breezes. Or plant under a window, where its perfume can be enjoyed.
  • T. Tarda. A lovely species for the early spring rockery, producing numerous snow-white star-shaped blooms on 6-in. stems.
  • T. Turkestanica. A particular favourite of mine, the numerous creamy white blooms carried on only 5-in. stems, remaining in bloom throughout spring. The flowers are enhanced by the rich brown stamens.
  • T. Wilsoniana. The deep crimson blooms have an attractive rich blue base borne throughout May on sturdy 5-in. stems.

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