First tulips from my cutting garden

I admit that when I write ‘cutting garden’, it sounds much grander than the reality: a single raised bed of about 150 x 150cm constructed of wooden boards that the builders brought down from our rotting roof last year. I didn’t know what (if anything) these ancient roof boards had been treated with, so the bed was destined to be a cutting patch and not for edibles. I filled it with a chaos of bulbs that had been exhumed during reconstruction of the front garden, as well as from last year’s pots, and was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic return of many of my tulips. It is a wonderful luxury to be able to cut tulips for a vase without the guilt of stealing from the herbaceous borders. One of the returning cultivars is Tulipa ‘Purissima’, which has come back in a much creamier shade white than last year. In-filled with stems of the abundant forget-me-nots that I have allowed to pepper the garden from head to foot, it is as though the spirit of the garden has followed me indoors.


I bought this jar with the sole intention of filling it with armfuls of T. ‘Apricot Beauty’, one of my favourite tulips of last year. Disappointingly, however, none of those returned. When it is not full of flowers, the jar has the more mundane task of holding spoons and spatulas in the kitchen, which have been evicted in the name of aesthetic priorities. (Credit to my husband, who has not complained once about the jumble of upended implements lying on the windowseat.)

I am writing a review of some of my favourite tulips and shall share it with you imminently. Which are your favourite tulip cultivars, and which do you find come back reliably year after year?

In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, and I recommend following the link to her page to see what spirits of the spring (or indeed, autumn) garden have found their way into vases of garden bloggers across the world.



24 thoughts on “First tulips from my cutting garden

  1. Your photos gave me a little morning thrill with my tea and toast! Especially the middle one with the forget-me-nots curling over into the tulip. I look forward to reading your top ten tulips. I wrote about mine this week ( ), but in short my top 5 are Ballerina, Antraciet, Purple Peony, Brown Sugar and Slawa. I cringe a bit when I use the term ‘Cutting Patch’ too: I feel like I am a SR wannabe!

  2. Nice combo of white tulips and forget-me-not. If you want tulips to come back year after year the bulb has to get bigger in the ground. The best way to have that happen is to cut the tulip flowers a few days after it starts to bloom. Then green leaves will put all the energy into the bulb and not into the flowers. Then the next year you should have blooms again. 😀

    1. I am quite sure you are right, although I fear that cutting the blooms would defeat the object of planting them in the garden in the first place. I prefer to leave them on, and of course they don’t set seed so very little energy is lost that way. However, I have cut my tulips that are in the cutting patch, so let’s see if the bulbs from those do well next year.

  3. Those pretty little blue things get everywhere don’t they? But such good companions with tulips of all colours. My last year bulbs with the exception of a few Orange Emperor and Ballerina didn’t really come to much. I shall discard them and reduce the number I buy for pots on the patio and increase my dwarf daffs instead.

  4. Absolutely stunning…perfect placement and mix of colors to highlight the vase and surrounding area. My cutting garden is a small raised bed where I grow flowers from seed….nothing fancy but I do love watching it grow and cutting flowers from it during the summer and fall.

  5. What a perfect contrast the forget-me-not make with ‘Purissima’, Joanna – and what a lot of tulips have returned for you as well. Lovely vase today (but as always!), so thanks for sharing

  6. Love your vase this week. Most tulips return for me; it has more to do with summer drought than variety I think. Tulips hate summer irrigation but do need water in winter and spring (mine certainly had that this year.

  7. I’ve had much better results with daffs than with Tulips but the ones that have performed well for me and that I love are Prinses Irene, Orange Princess and Schoonoord. Love the idea of all your kitchen tools spread out on the window seat while you enjoy your Monday bouquet.

    1. Thank you Linda. Yes, daffs do a really good job of returning, don’t they? Prinses Irene was an unexpected stunner for me. So cheerful and reliable. I will have to look the other two up though … thanks for the tips!

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