We love Carnival de Nice - planted beneath espaliered fruit trees its raspberry ripple frills unruffled just as the apple came into blossom.
 Wonderful partners both in the garden and in a vase.  Carnival de Nice, Amelanchier blossom, Narcissus Jenny, orange Tulipa Ballerina and dusky Bruine Wimple, heading up to Soane, London.
 More frivolous is Tulipa Estelle Rinveld. Not statuesque in the garden but this scarlet striped flamenco dancer is utterly delicious when cut. 
 We were inspired by Dutch paintings (still life of 1639 by Hans Hollongier) when we chose our tulips this year. Then we had fun mixing the striped tulips with other spring flowers in arrangements.
 Our favourite tulip two years running is Apricot Impression – tall, elegant, generous, plump and a peachy, apricot pink to make your heart sing.    Flamboyantand glamorous as it opens… the inside is darker and shimmers like a thirties ball gown...
 We also grew many old and loyal friends this spring…
 Vibrant oranges….from the left….Greetje Smit – so reliable, a star. Dusky Bruine Wimpel – more brown than orange – and tall, elegant orange lily-flowered tulipa Ballerina.
 Then the moody plums…Queen of the Night – she is definitely regal – tall and haughty – she can, however,  take a bit of rough as you can grow her in long grass . Burgundy has the tall fluted elegance of a lily-flowered tulip - deep violet-purple. Merlot, another beautiful lily-flowered tulip, has crimson tones.
 We loved our reds. The dazzling red of crimson tulipa Attila Graffiti, Gavota- deep red petals, edged with a broad yellow band - and the exotic Abu Hassan whose petals appear to have been dipped in gold.  Jan Reus is one of our favourites – so good with so many other tulips, especially yellow and red striped Helmar – shown here on the right….
 Then the dusky boudoir pinks …soft browny pink of double-flowered peony Tulipa Belle Epoque and soft, silky Tulipa Mistress Grey. We took armfuls of these to florists in London keen to use more unusual varieties.
 And the icy whites….Fresh green-striped Tulipa Spring Green which is remarkably good at returning year after year and frothy Tulipa White Parrot.      
 And here they all are lined up like a beauty paegent at Soane Britain - for a talk we gave on The Cutting Garden.
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