Dwarf Tulipa - catching up

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Wed, 25 Feb 2004 05:16:05 PST
Well, Mark, my remarks were not really meant to be taken too seriously - I
was just playing the devil's advocate and trying to stir things up a bit. 

I certainly share your enthusiasm for Crocus Prins Claus. 

If I'm not mistaken, the eponymous Prins Claus died only a year or two ago.
Can anyone confirm that? 

Jim McKenney

At 11:40 PM 2/24/2004 EST, you wrote:
>Lots of good comments on dwarf Tulipa.  Let me respond to a few items:
>There were two AlpenPix postings of Tulipa species, Tulipa undulatifolia 
>photographed by Graham Nicholls, and Tulipa neustreuvae photographed by
Jon Evans. 
>Both are stunning dwarf bulbs, but I'm particularly smitten with T. 
>undulatifolia... not only is it among the most beautiful dwarf tulips I've
seen, but it 
>is among the most stunning dwarf bulbs of all time.
>Tulipa undulatifolia
>Tulipa neustreuvae
>The first species is available from Hoog and Dix wholesale, but maybe we 
>could convince Paige Woodward or Russell Stafford to import this beauty
>their nursery channels if there were enough interested buyers of a few bulbs 
>Mary Sue Ittner wrote:
>>Tulipa bakeri 'Lilac Wonder' is another very 
>>satisfactory Tulipa. I have planted this in the 
>>ground hoping it might come back and occasionally 
>>see it returning, but it does much better for me in 
>>containers using my usual method. Funny, but I've 
>>never found its foliage "chubby." I'll have to look 
>>at it this year more closely.
>I do think the foliage is rather chubby, and proportionally too large for
>rather small cup-shaped blooms.  Check out my photo page on T. polychroma, a 
>most delightful miniature white-flowered species, where it turns out that 
>Tulipa bakeri bulbs were intermingled in the Holland bulb bins.  The
narrow gray 
>foliage is T. polychroma, the wide, green foliage just emerging is bakeri 
>'Lilac Wonder'.  The foliage will get much bigger and fatter than what you
see in 
>the images of early foliar emergence.
>...and here's the link to T. bakeri 'Lilac Wonder' bulbs growing out amongst 
>T. tarda bulbs:
>Jim McKenney <jimmckenney@starpower.net> wrote several paragraphs:
>>Tulipa bakeri Lilac Wonder was also mentioned. Tulipa 
>>saxatilis puts up foliage in the fall; the foliage is 
>>severely damaged in a typical winter. As a result, I 
>>grew this species (by replacing it frequently) for years
>>without ever seeing it flower. When Lilac Wonder 
>>became available, I was dubious: wasn't it just another 
>>saxatilis variant under a new name? Was there any 
>>reason to think that it might do better here? 
>The two species are regarded as quite distinct, albeit the flowers have 
>similar coloration reported as paler pink in T. saxatilis. Considering T.
>comes from Crete, it is surprising to me that it is ironclad hardy in New 
>England.  The foliage does not sprout in the autumn like saxatilis, but
waits until 
>spring.  Tulipa saxatilis is said to be stoloniferous.  Of the two species, 
>I've only grown T. bakeri, and it certainly shows no tendency to be 
>>I couldn't agree less about your comments about 
>>what rock gardeners prefer. I'm a rock gardener -of 
>>sorts, but not the sort who measures everything and
>>tosses anything over eight inches high. But then, I 
>>don't have a real rock garden. In my experience, 
>>most rock gardeners don't.
>You must not take my comments too seriously, as they were purposely 
>stereotyped to emphasize a point.  My comments are based on some level of
classic "rock 
>gardening doctrine", personal observation over the years in the New England 
>area, and a bit of mockery of the rock gardening "norms".  I'm the first to 
>admit that I like displays of pansies, petunias, huge-headed hydrangeas,
>hibiscus, snapdragons and zinnias, overbred iris and dahlias, lilacs, and
a host 
>of shrubs and trees. 
>>The rock gardeners you seem to be referring to 
>>are the space-starved modern rock gardeners who 
>>set aside a few square yards of rock heap and 
>>within that area manage to see glacial till, a 
>>moraine, assorted chasms and crevices
>I didn't realized I had implied so much!  To your assertion, I believe quite 
>the opposite.  Some of the best rock gardens in eastern USA that I've
>particularly in Connecticut, and western and coastal Massachusetts, among 
>other locations, had rather luxuriously expansive sites and elegant
gardens, not 
>even close to being a "rock heap".
>>As for plants, nothing much bigger than 
>>a Draba need apply. And thus the need 
>>for tiny tulips and crocus. And, as far as
>>I'm concerned, the result is proportionally 
>>reduced enjoyment. 
>"Proportionally reduced enjoyment"?... based on the need for tiny tulip and 
>crocus?  I don't see the correlation whatsoever, and find such an idea...
>say...novel.  It has more to do with the overall character of a plant, its 
>proportional balance, the disposition of leaves and flowers, and nuance of
>and scent; these things offering visual attraction and fidelity, not 
>necessarily based on size or height at all.  I adore miniature
narcissus... most 
>people seem to, and why not, they are darling replicas of their larger
kin.  But I 
>have my share of King Alfreds, as many people do, for the sheer exuberance
>spring splendor and color they offer.  You're right to point out, most rock 
>gardeners are not strickly adherent to the so-called 12" rule  (I haven't
>of the 8" rule you mentioned, nor the draba-height rule implying 2" max. 
>height or so), and they tend to grow what they like.
>>So let's not bash the big tulips and crocus. 
>>And please! We all don't prefer the so-called 
>>species - certainly not to the exclusion of the
>>"inflated Dutch crocus". "Absolutely not"?
>I don't think I bashed big tulips, other than trying to encapsulate a few 
>predispositions regarding them, and the perceived "norms" that ensue,
>these be right or wrong.  My mom's Red and Orange Emperor tulips that I
plant for 
>her are indeed splendid when they bloom, and she's proud that her garden 
>stands out from the neighbors. Regarding Dutch crocus, it is my personal
>they look big and inflated, and lack the finesse and charm of the smaller 
>sorts.  Are Dutch crocus pretty... sure they are, but I'd pass them up
gladly, to 
>have a mature clump of C. chrysanthus 'Prins Claus', with pristine flowers
>tightly packed they can hardly open and the floral scent worth lying in
the mud 
>for, to satiate the senses.
>Jane McGary mentions a couple species that catch my attention; "T. 
>orithyoides (tiny, white-and-greenish, in flower now) from Central Asia;
and T. 
>sharonensis from Israel, thanks to a NARGS member there".  Where might we
find T. 
>orithyoides?  It sounds wonderful.  Where is the species from?  I guess I
>scour the seed lists to find the more unusual sorts.
>Thanks Iza Goroff for the reminder about the NARGS Plant of the Month,
with 4 
>Tulipa species represented.  I particularly like the Tulipa batalinii
>Jewel' photo, the soft yellow flowers so pert and engaging.
>Thanks to others for sharing their favorite dwarf tulips.  If I had to
draw a 
>conclusion from the experience of others, it would be that Tulipa species
>quite satisfactory in colder climates, and to a slightly lesser extent in 
>warmer climates, but in all cases, they seem desirable and rewarding to
those who 
>grow them.
>On a closing note for this message, I must quote a line from Paige
>tulipa page on her Pacific Rim Native Plant Nursery.  
>In her offerings of Tulipa species (accompanied by photos), she says "Those 
>we offer are primal and voluptuous. Grow them in swathes."  That says it all 
>somehow!  I must try the primal T. carinata (distinctive flame red stars), 
>ingens (huge red waxy flowers), kaufmanniana 'Ak-Tash' (upfacing cream
>flowers), and ostrowskiana (hot red-orange blooms on short stems).
>Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States 
>antennaria@aol.com "New England" USDA Zone 5
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