Design, In the Garden


Welcoming the Tulips!

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There’s a wonderful overlap in my garden that happens about this point in the spring…as the four flowering cherries finish their magical bloom time, glorious tulips start popping up in both the gardens and in pots. Designed to be brought into the house specifically, the large containers of tulips were such a Godsend during these last weeks of staying home, their roseate shades greeting me in the entry hall (above), and down the stairs. As one set passed, we brought in another for a different location (below, ‘Pink Impression’).

There was another set for the solarium, where the Parterre Bench over winters. She always awaits this moment surrounded by ‘Dordogne’ tulips before she is moved back to the garden.

When we venture outside to take our long walks, I’ve been reminded what a vision a collection of tulips can be when you drive or walk past…whether in Newport…

or Manhattan’s Central Park where the walks are punctuated with a generous display of tulips.

Even in Fort Worth, Texas, where they obviously provide a welcome note for passersby and visitors alike. I keyed in on the fact that these tulips are underplanted with blue pansies, which makes the scene even more compelling. From a design standpoint, this pairing takes advantage of the fact that orange and blue are two complementary colors, each playing up the other’s intensity.

Which may have prompted me to choose this particular tole container with its peacock blue urn for my ‘Princess Irene’ tulip arrangement.

Another favorite container, which I call my “Little Black Dress” of an urn, is filled with the perfect “accessory” — pearl white tulips encircling the rim.

Last year, England was memorable for many reasons not least of which was their tulip displays. At Bowood, in the Cotswolds, I’m remembering their white tulips (and red) planted so beautifully in the parterres which stretched the length of the terrace.

It was thrilling to arrive in the middle of England’s tulip season (first week of May). They were everywhere, from storied Hidcote….

to mystical Rousham, designed by William Kent in the early 18th century.

In one of the estate shops, I spied this mix of exotic tulips that are all the rage in tulip aficionado circles…the ‘Rembrandt’ tulips, with their “flames” that originally derived from a virus way back in early Renaissance times (now bred specifically for this flame effect).

I couldn’t resist closing my post with this scene stealer of a tulip…’Estella Rijnveld’. Hot! Hot! Hot! Hoping this vision will keep your spirits up.

Stay well, and safe and sound…

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

13 thoughts on “Welcoming the Tulips!

  1. Beautiful! I didn’t set out any tulip bulbs last year, thinking that I could pick some plants up at the nursery this year. That way I wouldn’t lose so many bulbs to the squirrels. I have to admit , tho, buying them full grown and blooming isn’t as rewarding as setting out the bulbs, waging the wars with the dastardly squirrels and then the feeling of accomplishment when I actually see them bloom. Seeing that some of the bulbs survived and didn’t become dinner for the squirrels is quite an accomplishment. Your blog is so much appreciated. You take me places that I’m sure I will never get to go! Well done!

    1. You are so correct, Claire, that feeling of accomplishment and having actually contributed to the birthing process (despite the dastardly squirrels) is worth the price!
      And thank you for identifying one of the great pleasures of creating these posts…”taking my readers places they will never get to go.” Because bno matter how much we may travel, no one can say they’ve seen it all. xB

  2. Beautiful! Hey Bettie, what’s the framed drawing behind the “Princess Irene” tulips? — the man rowing with his babe?

    Also the Parterre Bench. What’s it made of? Does it really stay outside most of the year & survive? Also I think I see your signature rather stylishly designed into the armature yes?

    1. Hi there, the watercoloc is by Alice Shille (1910). I love your curator’s description of the subject (makes me think of your friend who joined us for dinner in NY).
      The Parterre Bench is made of solid mahogany, weighing in at a hefty 120 lbs. and 5′ x 5′. I do bring it in because it adds so much to the solarium, though with its super, duper paint job it could stay outside. Yes, you’re a good sleuth as regards the intitials (a gift to myself to celebrate the publication of Private Newport). xB

  3. Tulip Treat! Such a May beauty. Thanks for the Tulip promenade. Several years ago, as a present from European friends, we received a 100 tulip bulbs from Holland.
    A multitude of colors and shaped tulips came up the following spring.
    Most of this beauty was gone in the next few days…
    The family of deer living near by discovered the tall flowers and made it their four star meal in the night. A few delicate tulips still come up once in a while, as I spray anti deer around the leaves of the tulips as they come up(and hosta, the deer favorite second course). Cat

  4. Yes, we all need as much inspiration as we can find! Been a gray cold wet spring so far and looking to brighter days ahead! Thanks for sharing!!!!

    1. Tulips are always an antidote for lifting one’s spirits!! So happy to share some joy….xB

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