Design, In the Garden

Tulip Fever

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Yes, tulips are one of my very fave flowers — so while I may have been missing their bloom time at home I was treated to a rainbow of blossoms throughout my trip to England. But seeing tulips in such a variety of settings, showcased against such spectacular architecture, was “frosting on the cake.” It became a little game to see how creatively they had been presented.

In the images above and below, the pebbled terrace along the length of Bowood House is graced with boxwood parterres displaying a bountiful mix of red, white and black tulips. A few parterres are specifically heart-shaped and filled with?

A pair of beds thick with red tulips (I saw a theme emerging…) play up the old brick facades of the most charming of follies at Hidcote.

While in this exceptional garden’s walled area, pink, plum and aubergine tulips provide a very different scene.

On the other hand, the casual but joyful display in Rousham House’s stable block near the walled garden is in marked contrast to the 300 hundred year old formal spaces (link to last weeks blog) that William Kent designed…where green prevails; there is not one touch of color (except under an ancient wisteria arbor).

And at Rodmarton, a series of stand alone stone containers hold shocking pink and black tulips that are a delicious juxtaposition to the blooming wisteria on the graying Cotswolds stone.

A fun close to this post… finding a merry collection of potted “Rembrandt Tulips” in the garden shop at Hidcote. So called because their “flames” (due to a virus ) were the reason these specific tulips were so coveted by the early Renaissance Dutch traders.

Hope this has provided some inspiration for your tulip plantings next fall.

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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".

6 thoughts on “Tulip Fever

  1. Your photographs of Hidcote, Bowood, , Rousham and Rodmarton (which I’ve never visited) especially those fabulous Rembrandt tulips!!, are beyond compare, Bettie!! What a sojourn you must have taken, and I hope you print another book with this trip included!

    1. Heaven on earth, and yes, what fun to contemplate a book on just this topic! xB

  2. Now I know the reason for those multi-colored tulips! Thank you professor!

    Oh, I wish I could be there when the wisteria was blooming on that arbor!
    Thank you for a heavenly trip to English tulip gardens against ancient stone mansions….gorgeous!

  3. Parterres and tulips! Contained wild ones. Elegant! Come to the Skagit Valley Bear Seattle! Our tulip fields rival those in the Netherlands!

  4. What a beautiful sight! Lucky tulipers…… After planting over a hundred tulips that came from Holland, I had the surprise in the following spring time to see the deer munch on every one of them……
    only four came back the following year.

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