Anticipation …


… is what keeps me going all winter, that and a spot
of bulb forcing


And I won’t have long to wait for some of these spring
species tulips. My goal: to have every species tulip you can buy planted
somewhere in front of my house.  This year, in addition to 400 or so hybrid tulips,
lilies, hyacinths, narcissus, and miscellaneous ephemerals, I purchased, for the first
time, t. orphanidea flava (shown above), t. kolpakowskiana, t. dasystemon, and t. humulis alba
coerulea oculata (shown at top) to add to the other species I have. You gotta love the names. I am sure some Linnaeus
scholar can explain them for me.

Images courtesy of the John Scheepers online catalog.

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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 regular 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


  1. Emphatically *not* a Linnaeus scholar, but I have a couple of plant name books:

    “Tulipa orphanidea flava” – Named in honor of Dr. Orphanides, professor of botany at Athens and “flava” for “yellow”.
    “Tulipa kolpakowskiana” – named after a botanical explorer named Kolpakowski.
    “Tulipa dasystemon” – Eeps! Your tulip has *very* hairy stamens!
    “Tulipa humulis alba coerulea oculata” – a floppy-ish or very short (humulis – earth), white tulip with a dark-blue eye (coerulea oculata).

    Botanical names can be really very descriptive, but you have to carry 4-12 books around with you to translate anything but the most basic (flava and alba, for example) terms. They look beautiful and I envy you your garden of tulips!

  2. I got that purple and white one, too! I can hardly wait to see how it does.

    I ordered 200 bulbs, which seemed profligate at the time, but now I feel quite modest, compared to your haul.

    Come on, spring!

  3. I was at a garden expo last week and the Hall County (Georgia) Junior Master Gardeners were selling bulbs for their fall fundraiser. They had just six kinds of bulbs to choose from, but also had demonstrations and a play-in-the-dirt area for little growers. Talk about gardening for the greater good!

    Thanks for the post.

  4. Oh those orphan flavas really zing! What a noble goal to grow all the species. You can really do a good analysis of the vigor and habit too. Every photo in the catalog looks so good, they hardly ever show them in a garden setting like we would have at home. 200 T. batalini ‘Apricot Jewel’ are going in my lawn experiment this year.

  5. Must have control. Next year. After the trees and bushes are in, the path is in. Don’t buy bulbs. Will just have to move them. Must control urge to order. Throwing out the paper catalogue no longer works because you can always go to the ‘puter.

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