The Stopwatch Gardener

A gardening blog from Sheila M. Averbuch

Planting tulips in a row


Click for larger imageYes, I’m doing it, though I’ve read a dozen times that I shouldn’t. But I really want to go old-style: I want the lineup to be a nod to old New England colonial front gardens, and the painted red-on-yellow of these single earlies to lend a Rembrandt vibe. They’re Mickey Mouse and I haven’t grown them before, but they’re now in a double row under my office window. (Digging a trench for the tulip lineup was also a much faster way to work — in they went, each nestled on a bit of sand.) It’s the squat gable end of the cottage, which supposedly dates to the 1600s, so the whole combo should look righteously retro. The antique rowans overhead should be blazing with blossom by the time the tulips are over and distract from their decline.

I’m going less traditional with the back garden tulips, adding a bunch of violet Passionale through the stunning orange parrot, Professor Rontgen, delivered last autumn from Rose Cottage Plants. RC is my only choice now for mail order — orders from J. Parker’s, Sarah Raven, even direct from the Dutch at all got me dozens of the wrong thing, and make-goods still don’t take the edge off, especially when it’s wisteria…the wrong wisteria…that’s taken four years to flower. (I better not start on mislabeled stuff…why do so many vendors get this wrong?!)

8 Comments to

“Planting tulips in a row”

  1. On October 8th, 2009 at 10:28 am Morag Says:

    Forgive the novice question but why do ‘they’ say that we shouldn’t plant tulips in a row?

  2. On October 8th, 2009 at 10:51 am The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    It ‘looks bad’. Gauche. Outre. See what this blogger ( says about it. Garden design fascism, anyone? My lines are straight and I’m proud!

  3. On October 9th, 2009 at 11:35 am Ralph Says:

    It’s quite amazing just how much stuff is sold and turns out to bear no resemblance to what you thought you were getting…


  4. On October 13th, 2009 at 6:40 pm Sue in Milan Says:

    Throw “should” out of the window. Plant them how you like them. If like me you plant them in rectangular containers, there’s not much else to do anyway. But they looked wonderful.

    Found you through Blotanical. Hope you enjoy networking there and we see you around a lot.

  5. On October 13th, 2009 at 8:38 pm The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    Thanks Sue – yesterday I planted my one and only container of tulips this year, some violet Passionale with a red heuchera on top. It’s not a color combination I’ve tried before but we’ll see!

  6. On October 15th, 2009 at 1:52 am Northern Shade Says:

    I like the flame effect that the red and yellow colours produce on those tulips. There are a lot of different ways to arrange plants in the garden, and it’s fun to experiment with different styles, and see how they look. It sounds like your tulips will match your garden and house style and time period.

    I planted some Foxtrot tulips this fall, with double pink petals. I can’t wait to see how they look in the spring, and if they come up at the same time as their companions. The anticipation is half the fun, isn’t it?

  7. On October 15th, 2009 at 9:55 am The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    I Googled Foxtrot and it looks absolutely amazing — is it double late? I have a double late called “may wonder” and it lasts for weeks. I read somewhere that the double lates go on and on — mine really seem to!

  8. On May 13th, 2010 at 11:37 pm The Stopwatch Gardener | A gardening blog for time-poor plant fanatics » Blog Archive » Sandy tulips are happy tulips Says:

    […] and those tulips I planted in a row beneath my window? Fabulous. They give exactly the 17th century colours I was looking for, although […]

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