Trees and Tulips

Spring is a riot for the senses. The birds and toads are singing, the trees are blooming, and the gardens are bursting out of their winter rest. I finally feel like my co-workers and I have shaken off the long winter (I hope you have, too!).¬† If you haven’t, come to Blithewold! This week the tulips showed up in force and overwhelmed our expectations. We planted more tulips in each of the gardens than we have in years. The result is breathtaking. The Rose Garden tulip combination of pinks and deep burgundy is so lovely in juxtaposition with the light blues of spring bulbs and forget-me-nots.

Tulips ‘Belicia’ and ‘Blue Wow’ with forget-me-nots in background.

Here are all the Rose Garden tulips we chose this year.

Can we just take a moment and appreciate each of these tulips? Foxtrot was the first to emerge. It was eager to start things off and was perfectly suited to do so with its joyful pink color and diminutive size. ‘Belicia’ and ‘Blue Wow’ were the next to open and I think they look so pretty together. ‘Ice Cream’ is perhaps the most anticipated of the bunch. We weren’t sure if it would live up to the pictures in the catalogue, but it certainly has! What a strange and fascinating flower it is. Have you been to the garden and seen it blooming yet? There’s still time to see it in person before the increasing spring heat steals these flowers away.

The Rose Garden is gorgeous right now; however, the North Garden is giving it steep competition for my favorite garden this week. The featured image at the top is a side angle view of the North Garden. Summer Snowflake (Leucojum¬†‘Gravetye Giant’) floats above the garden while the tulips provide pops of sweet candy color in every garden bed. Here are some close-ups of all those beauties.

Every time we pass through this garden we comment on how wonderful it is to have so many tulips here. It is so different to see tulips mixed into a garden rather than simply planted en masse. Don’t get me wrong, I find the pow of spring color that is featured in many public plantings really stunning. To my mind, there is simply something gentler about seeing tulips mixed into a garden with many other annuals and perennials all working in concert to create both a soothing and inspiring environment. I feel the forward momentum of the season when I notice perennial foliage growing alongside tulips alongside fading early spring bulbs. It makes me feel excited for what comes next.

Speaking of what’s next–trees! The arboretum here at Blithewold is a wonder at all times of year, but spring is perhaps the most dramatic season. Gail and I have been attempting to capture pictures of as many of the trees leafing out and flowering as we can (in between planning and planting all of the gardens – phew! it’s been quite a crazy couple of weeks). Here are some of our recent favorites

The most exciting thing to my mind is that this is just the beginning. April was a tease with half of the month stuck in winter and the other half brightening with daffodils and early spring ephemerals. May is the month I have been waiting for in my heart. I needed to see that winter was truly gone and everything is back to as it should be. Flowers everywhere. Trees leafing out. Day after day of absolutely perfect weather. 75 degrees, sunny, a light breeze, low humidity. My faith in the resiliency of life is restored!

I will leave you with more tulip pictures since the Idea Garden has been showing off this week too. Our interns last year picked out tulip combinations that are currently blooming in the Herb Garden and Sill Garden. Here they are:

Gidiony’s Tulips ‘Charming Lady’, ‘Orange Princess’ and ‘Elegant Lady’


Sean’s Tulips ‘Flaming Flag’, ‘Queen of the Night’, ‘Budlight’, ‘Antarctica’