Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

GBBD: Tulip 'St George'

A large pot of 'St George' tulips on our garden wall

In 2000, one of the improvements our garden contractor added to our sketched garden design, was a plinth either side of the central steps leading off our patio. For many years these were topped with a couple of box balls in pots, but the 'sentinel conifers' encroached on them too much and pulled them out of shape. They're beyond rescuing.

I'm undecided whether to start again with the box, so in the meantime I've gone much larger with the pots. Last summer saw them stuffed with a huge dahlia each, which I loved. This spring sees the classic combination of tulips and yet-to-bloom wallflowers, with a few pansies thrown in for good measure.

The tulip variety is 'St George', which I was given to trial last year, and judging by their height and leaves they're of the Greigii type. They're around 9-12 inches - a bit smaller than advertised, but that's probably because I'm growing them in pots and they're quite close together. I love the striped leaves.

I'd like to rename them 'Strawberry Mivvi', because that's what I'm reminded of when I see their budded form. Later in the day they open wide into a creamy yellow with a stripe which is more of a peach colour. I'd say they've come out a bit paler than their naming and the supplier's website suggests, possibly because they're in pots in the sunniest part of the garden.

As a Blooms Day bonus I have to show you our neighbour's magnolia tree which has popped over our fence to say hello. The blooms are so magnificent, even NAH has remarked on them. It's a good magnolia year.

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


Latin without tears

As we discovered in my What's a Name? quiz recently, tulip (latin = Tulipa) is derived from the Turkish for turban, talband, which refers to the flower's shape. However, Wikipedia gives a slightly different definition, saying it's derived from the Turkish for muslin via the Persian word for turban. It also says the word may refer to the fashion at the time of the Ottoman Empire of wearing tulips in turbans, rather than the flower's shape.

There are around 75 wild species and the RHS groups cultivated tulips into 15 Groups - click on the link and scroll down for a slideshow of examples plus definitions. Greigii tulips form the 14th Group which comprises cultivars, subspecies, varieties and hybrids of T greigii. This species hails from Turkistan and according to the Backyard Gardener is named after Samuel Alexeivich Greig, a 19th century botanist and former president of the Russian Horticultural Society.

The Greigii group is characterised by shorter, later flowering tulips - April/May in the case of my 'St George' - with distinct mottled or striped foliage. The latest edition of The Garden says this tulip Group is good for containers, so it seems I made the right choice for where to plant mine.


  1. I wonder if they're the sort that comes back just as good the following or will need periodic replacing?

    1. Watch this space guys - I shall be testing that very thing. I'm too lazy to lift my tulips so they're left to fend for themselves. I've found 'Spring Green' the best at coming back so far. There's an online list of recommendations somewhere, I must find it...

  2. How nice that you get to enjoy the beauty of your neighbor's Magnolia!
    Pretty tulips - I never seen any with striped leaves
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

    1. The striped leaf ones are good Lea, keep a look out for them!

  3. Our neighbor has a massive Forsythia that comes over the fence. I love it because we can enjoy its bloom in good years and if frost nips it we don't notice as it is then just a green screen. But a Magnolia is a real treat!

    1. Yes, it's a wonderful treat, we are so fortunate in our neighbours :-)

  4. Love those tulips and the way the backlighting highlights the stripe. I could see myself going a bit dotty with tulips, if I didn't force a level head on myself. Those plinths are a star spot, aren't they? I think your garden contractor was spot on.

    1. Yes, our garden contractor improved our design no end :-)

  5. Oh 'St.George' is an appropriate choice for this time of year VP. It's been ages since I've had a 'Strawberry Mivvi' or any other sort of ice cream. Like you we have a neighbour who has wonderful magnolia for us to feast our eyes on.

  6. I'm sitting the garden looking at it right now, Anna :-)


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