The not a tulip show

On the outskirts of Brussels, there’s a seventeenth-century castle made of brick and spiky things, where each year Dutch and Belgian growers show off their tulip collections.P1010511

I’m not a great fan of tulips laid out in beds according to variety. But tulips, after the breeders have had their way with them, can be weird and wonderful things, especially parrot tulips, so I went along. But this year has been so cold, there wasn’t a tulip to be seen. Actually, there was one, flowering all on its own: tulipa fosteriana ‘Pirand’. And that was itP1010505.

Instead of the tulips, the earlier spring bulbs, which should have been over, were in full flower under the trees. I think I prefer them to tulips. There were some clever colour combinations. P1010499

P1010501But what I found most interesting was that the bulbs were growing through a few of inches of coarse sand. I imagine this is because the sand warms faster than the cold clay beneath and encourages the bulb into growth. I must try it in my own inhospitable climate.

To make up for not having any tulips to look at, everyone packed into the covered display area, where there were some truly bizarre things to be seen. Someone had wasted packets of dye and endless time,  to produce this:P1010509

The ‘Rainbow rose’. Not fabric. I wish it had been. I could indulge in a little rant here about squandered human ingenuity. But I won’t;  I’ll pass on to another monstrosity, which is what happens when plant breeders get so carried away by their own genius, that they entirely forget about aesthetics. Would you really want this apology for a daffodill leering at you from your flowerbeds?


21 thoughts on “The not a tulip show

  1. Oh my. Well I’m glad you lived to tell the tale Kininvie. Do you think those roses were painted from the bottom up or top down? I understand your thinking about the warming sand but it looks less than natural– I first wondered if it could be snow. How rare, to have a tulip show with only one tulip. Even I could do that, plus I could display, at no extra cost, a morose concrete owl and a naked kiwi arbor.

    • I don’t know how they ‘created’ the awful rose, Linnie. I imagine they moved the stems to different pots of dye as the petals unfurled. So much wasted effort!

    • I have one or two of the less outrageous sort. Each year I look at them with a jaundiced eye, and reckon their time has come. But I never find the time to dig them out, and then I forget which clump they are. So, the brutes survive.

  2. Hahaha! That “daffodil” looks like it’s had too many pornstar martinis (or orange reefs) on a Friday night! Imagine that! One of the happiest signs of spring and it’s come up smashed with a face full of vomit! Bleurgh!

  3. I know that some alpine growers grow bulbs in sand beds. They mix in a degree of soil but generally it is predomiantly sand. Which makes sense if you think that tulips come from Turkey originally.

    As for the double daff I have a pot of something very similar that was sent to me by a bulb company to try. I am anticipating them being awful but am trying to be open minded!!

  4. I won’t say a word about that monster rose (ooops) just to agree with you about the split narcissus. Yes they call them so, although they look exploded rather than split, or better: scrambled.
    The place must be nice to visit though, shame you did’t get what you went there for, that anemones stream puts up quite a show, doesn’t it?

  5. I think some daffodils should be strangled at birth, how do they ever get into the catalogues?! Sorry, but I like daffodils to look like daffodils, with a trumpet. The other spring bulbs look a lot nicer than the tulips would have done, at least your visit wasn’t wasted.

  6. I have those weird daffs in my garden. They were smuggled into a mixed bag of daffs I bought on sale. They’re not my favorite but I leave them alone instead of pulling them out. I think of them as having a bit of extra character.

  7. Not fair Kininvie, you should have asked for your money back, even up here in Aberdeen we have more tulips on show. The double Daff is a bit of a sight but almost charming compared to the monstrous rainbow rose.

  8. Shame about the Tulips, more in our garden at the moment and you know how the weather has been. Lets toss a coin, yes the Rose is the biggest monstrosity.

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