If your favourite ice cream is raspberry ripple, and even if it isn't, Burning Heart tulips will remind you of its utterly irresistible moreishness. The closed flower is a perfect pyramid shape. The outer petals are almost translucent with ripples of red and gold suffused through them, while the inner petals are unmistakable like licking flames, reaching up from the base on both sides to evoke that village-fete hog roast, all is right with the world feeling. We defy you to look at this flower and not smile every time! More practically these brilliant flowers perch atop a strong, erect stem and last for ages.
Darwin Hybrid Tulips tend to emerge after the shorter Single Early tulips like Diana or Christmas Sweet, will probably coincide with the Early Doubles but are at their best well before the Late Singles or Cottage varieties. If that sounds confusing, imagine that you can have a continuous whoosh of colour for months and months if you plan your tulips right. Burning Heart is so stunning and so impressively large that it has most impact grown en masse, but you could combine it with creamy coloured or pale yellow triumph or lily tulips - four or five types together make a bouquet - or a daffodil like Narcissus 'Cheerfulness' for real impact. Dark green spreading plants would make for an effective contrast too - Juniperus horizontalis springs to mind - or against a backdrop of a Yew or Holly hedge. With their enormous flowers, Darwin Hybrid tulips are the best tulips for cutting, especially if you grow them in a sheltered spot. And as ever with tulips, they look great in pots - think bright glazed red - and that way you know that the badgers wont get them.
The Burning Heart tulip is sometimes known as a Rembrandt tulip because it looks just like the sort of tulip that contemporaries of Rembrandt (1606-1669) like Hans Bollongier painted. Tulipmania was in full swing between 1593 and 1637 and these types of tulip with their streaks and flames of colour were highly sought after. The cause of the markings was in fact a virus which eventually damaged the bulbs and so the original hybrids cannot be used. Modern pretenders to the look are virus-free. Darwin hybrid tulips are a cross between Fosteriana and Darwin tulips - part of the Late Single class, combining the brilliant oriental colours of the former with the height and large sized flower of the latter.