An elegant species slumming it in my yard

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Michele’s Friday post will be up soon. In the meantime, are you (those in my zone-ish) enjoying your first species tulips of the season? This is humulis “Persian Pearl,” I love the sharply defined silver and purple, kind of like the panels on a pre-1800s ballgown. There are some equally fancy hellebores in the background.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com

11 COMMENTS

  1. I’m so jealous. Those tulips (unless forced…meh) and hellebores will not grow where I live.

  2. I love the species tulips too, Elizabeth! Very undervalued and underused, in my opinion. I have some ‘Persian Pearl’ out now too, and every couple years I indulge in some spendy but lovely T. humilis ‘Alba coerulea oculata’. Worth every penny…….

  3. Susan, those alba etc. are great, and I am happy to spend the money but I had to give up on them, when they stopped coming up even once.

  4. Beautiful! I am a big fan of species tulips. The ones I put in the ground always come up teeny tiny (as in, even smaller than they should be, for a species tulip) and not very vigorous. If you have suggestions for particularly good sources for species tulips, I’d love to hear them sometime.

  5. Will plant some species tulips this fall. until then will have to just enjoy the hellebores that made their way home from our local garden store. (I have NO idea how they found their way to the car)

  6. Our first species tulips came up a week and a half ago under early warm weather. I love them and given that Colorado has very similar climate patterns to their native homes, they do great here and naturalize freely.

    @Liz: I get more common ones from Brent and Becky’s and more rare ones from Odyssey Bulbs.

  7. I have T. clusiana blooming now. It’s a steady performer here. I keep looking for yellow and white T. tarda, but it seems to have disappeared again, the third time I’ve planted it.

  8. how i long to gaze upon persian pearl tulips. for a few years they came up, and just as the flowers were about to open, the squirrels nipped off the flower.

    i quit looking. i don’t know if they even come up anymore.

  9. My favorite specied tulip is T. praestans “Fusilier.” Bright scarlet flowers in early spring. Mine are already passed their peak. I also love T. turkistanica.

  10. Liz, another good source for species tulips is McClure & Zimmerman. They have a pretty amazing catalog of bulbs of all sorts, and their prices are quite reasonable.

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