Pear drop shaped when closed, but like a water-lily when opened in full sun, Johann Strauss is a symphony of colours. The grower who orchestrated this tulip deserves a medal. The six, slightly pointed and slightly reflexed petals are pale lemon yellow on the outside with a deep red blush of red staining from mid-petal up to the point. The inner petals that you see when the flower is open are white with a central red ring near the base. The foliage is a flattering green-grey with burgundy stripes. If you can imagine one of those Viennese waltzes in flower form, then you have the spirit of the twirling, elegant energy encapsulated in this tulip which is just one of our range of some of the best tulips for a garden.
Low-growing but luscious
Tulip Johann Strauss should play a vital part in the concert of colour that you bring into your spring garden. Where you have a window box, shallow pot on the terrace or even a growbag on a balcony, ideally make sure it is in the sun and then fill it with these bulbs. Because they appear earlier than almost all other tulips, they will be the first notes of spring. In spite of their size they could be the bass note in a pot planting where other tulips soar above them soprano style later on - think Tulip Ballerina or White Triumphator or even a drumstick allium like Purple Sensation. As proper perennials, they make a great edge to a border, not least because their rather smart foliage acts as ground cover and is wind and weather resistant, and of course they will look enormously decorative in any rockery or gravel garden. Their short stems makes them a practical and pretty addition to any banks or slopes in the garden too, but remember not to mow until the foliage has died down.
Flowers have often inspired poets, but this Sufi verse seems particularly apt if one bears in mind the divine music that the two Johann Strauss composers wrote:
The tulip in her lifted chalice bears
A dewy wine of Heaven's minist'ring." Hafiz - 1325-1389 tr. Gertrude Bell
Kaufmanniana tulips originated from Turkestan and have been bred to capitalise on their ability to open in the sunshine to reveal a differently coloured inner petal.