I COULDN’T WAIT to get outside with my camera this morning. Why? Because yesterday’s freakish heatwave — 85 degrees after weeks and weeks of frigid weather — caused my garden to explode with color. Take a walk with me, and I’ll show you the tulips (like heirloom ‘Van der Neer,’ above) and other creatures who just needed a little warmth to pull them out of their cold, springtime coma (click photos to enlarge):
Bred in 1860, and a gift from my friend Judy (who obtained the bulbs from Old House Gardens), Tulipa ‘Van der Neer’ is one of my earliest tulips. I have it in the Serpentine Garden, where its rosy-purple cups look well against a sea of blue-flowered Vinca minor.
Just above the first terrace in the Serpentine Garden, and providing a strong contrast to the blue vinca and muscari, is the flowering quince Chaenomelis x superba ‘Crimson & Gold.’ It’s next door neighbor is the gorgeous, double peach quince ‘Cameo,’ which blooms in mid-May. I consider flowering quince a perfect perennial shrub — it requires no care whatsoever, besides a little pruning to keep its thorny stems within bounds.
Not open yet, but showing color after yesterday’s heatwave, is Tulipa ‘Purple Flag.’ I planted just 12 of these bulbs many years ago, and they have rewarded me with more and more blooms each spring. I have them in a bed at the north end of the Rose Garden, beside a brick path. There isn’t a more graceful purple tulip.
Overnight — and I’m not exaggerating here — my Yoshino Cherry tree covered itself in bloom. This is the same variety of cherry (Prunus x yedoenis) that Japan gifted Washington, DC back in 1912, as a symbol of friendship. The snow-white flowers are softly almond-scented.
What’s blooming in your spring garden?
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Flowering Quince ‘Crimson & Gold’