Gardening is a solitary pursuit. Just one human and a shovel.
But, God love the Internet, there’s a lot the solitary gardener can learn from the solitary obsessions of other gardeners. For example, even a die-hard hybrid tulip fanatic, the kind of bulb-buyer who thinks that if it’s not a vibrating purple color, nor fringed, nor striped, nor double, nor gigantic in flower, it’s not worth bothering with, might after exchanging ideas with Elizabeth Licata, begin to appreciate the subtler charms of species tulips.
While Purple Prince is likely to remain my favorite tulip for the foreseeable future–vibrating purple color, plus as a Single Early that shows up in cool weather, its blooms last a long, long, long time–the bulbs I am most excited about putting in the ground right now are more Licata-like than Owens-like.
They include tulipa sylvestris, below, which were just wonderful last year.