The Darwin tulips are the real toughies of the tulip world with the most enormous glowing flowers growing singly and tall on strong, sturdy stems that keep them upright in windy weather. This collection includes the RHS AGM winning 'Daydream' with its slight scent and evolving colours from pale lemon-yellow to a rosy apricot-orange. Another confection is 'Burning Heart' whose petals will remind you of raspberry ripple ice cream with the main body of the tulip a clotted cream colour. 'Pink Impression' is a beacon of pinkness with streaky rhubarb fool petals. If you hadn't worked it out, this collection of tulips is good enough to eat and their variety and colours make them irresistible.
A late spring masterpiece
These are unusual tulips that demand your attention and are stunningly attractive. With their intriguing streaked and flamed petals their colours seem to vary in different lights so they look good against dark shrubs or evergreen Yew or Holly hedges. As with all tulips they do fantastically well in pots - make it a large one though - to be sophisticated harbingers of spring. You can have great fun growing different combinations together and will achieve nearly all the colours of the rainbow in one container! Try layering other bulbs in the same pot; have a look at all the later Narcissus varieties if you want them to emerge together. These tulips are perfect for cutting flowers so buy some extra ones for an out of the way part of the garden so you can raid them for your flower arrangements. For those who want a slightly earlier tulip, have a look at the Single Early bulb collection. And if the 'Darwin' just feels to big and overwhelming, check out the Kaufmanniana or Greigii hybrid tulips which are stunning but diminutive by comparison.
The unusual streaking you find on Darwin tulips, means that they were called Rembrandt tulips because many of his contemporaries painted such flowers in the Golden Age of Dutch still life painting. These markings are actually caused by a virus which over the long term in those days would have killed the tulip. Nowadays the bulbs are cultivated to achieve the same effect without the same deleterious outcome.