Monday, April 2, 2012

Tulipa 'Uncle Tom'

To my tastes tulips do red better than any other flower; and my favorites are those dark ones which show hints of the color of dried blood. Beautiful as they are in full bloom, for me there is something almost unbearably poignant about the color of fallen red tulip tepals as they begin to darken, dry and wither. I've been known to cut some of these and as the tepals fall allow them to lie on the table surface for weeks.  It means, of course, that another tulip season is ending. Any tulip which shows this dark red color is apt to be a favorite here.

Above is 'Uncle Tom', a late double tulip which was introduced about five years before I was born. I've probably known about it most of my gardening life, and it's another one I would not like to be without. When the flowers begin to open the color seems off: it's not the brown-red expected. But as the flower matures it becomes suffused with the rich color for which it is so famous.

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