Seeing Red.

Waterford, south-east Ireland. Saturday, 29th May 2021

For the most part my seeing red this week has been of the very best kind, the red of striking flower colour with the flowering of an especially liked tulip, Tulipa sprengeri, a species tulip which I am delighted to say has found the conditions in our garden perfectly suited to its requirements and has increased generously over the years both through the multiplication of the bulbs and by its abundant self-seeding. This tulip is a native of Turkey and and has become very rare there in the wild and is, perhaps, extinct so it is good that it is popular in gardens and grows very well in cultivation.

Tulipa sprengeri catching the evening light.

Click to see the photographs in larger format:

Papaver orientale ‘Beauty of Livermere‘ decided to meet the challenge of the red tulips but has only opened one flower to date. Perhaps this was wise as its large, wide-petalled flowers do not stand up well to wind and heavy rain and both have been part of our weather during this past week. This poppy has lasted for many years in the garden, certainly over twenty, and has always been very well behaved especially when compared with Papaver orientale ‘Allegro’ which we grow elsewhere and which demands constant attention to prevent it invading and overtaking all neighbouring plants. A bold splash of red has much to recommend it, especially in a week which was constantly dull and regularly raining.

Papaver orientale ‘Beauty of Livermere’

Click to enlarge:

Despite regularly miserable weather, and other matters, we did manage to get some gardening done. I was “rested” early in the week as I had very foolishly hurt my elbow and needed to rest it for a few days and the head gardener forged ahead on her own until I returned to light duties. This, the elbow injury, was the other reason for my seeing red this past week. We also took time out for two garden visits during the week – Lismore Castle Gardens and Mount Congreve Gardens. After the heavy rains grass cutting was out of the question and working on the beds was almost impossible as the soil was so wet. However, with care we managed to do quite an amount of weeding and freshening up from the pathways. Mary has the glasshouses all in order and ready for her potting up the tomato plants as the dahlias have been planted out and that leaves space inside.

It is the time of the Alliums and Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ is the one giving the best display at the moment. It has increased in numbers over the years both through the bulbs splitting and because it seeds about generously though the seedling plants are always smaller and have a lighter colour. Nevertheless, they all add to the display.

Click to enlarge the images:

Quite a number of irises are into flower in the garden at the moment. Iris germanica and Iris sibirica are all looking well but a cultivar of the Pacific iris, Iris ‘Broadleigh Rose’ is putting the best display of all. Our plant came from Broadleigh Gardens many years ago and has been split and split again and again over the years and reliably gives a great display of flowers at this time of the year.

Iris ‘Broadleigh Rose’

Click to enlarge:

This iris – Iris laevigata ‘Shirasagi’ is growing in our pond, in pots on the pond ledge, a perfectly suitable situation as its common name is the Water Iris. It is a rhizamatous iris and can be divided regularly to produce new plants and to prevent it becoming congested in its pot.

Click to enlarge:

Finally, for who could resist an obliging bumblebee! Here are some visiting Geranium phaeum:

Bumblebee on Geranium phaeum ‘Lavender Pinwheel’

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator”. To read more contributions go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read!


24 thoughts on “Seeing Red.

  1. That is a great picture of the bumblebee on the Geranium Paddy. When I go out into the garden, I shall have a word with the Tulipa sprengeri which I grew from seed, so that it can get the idea of what I expect. Hopefully next year, in their fourth year they will flower.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I grew them from seed originally – from the Alpine Garden Society distribution – and once settled in they began to self-seed and have done well. Despite their hot origins in Turkey they do very well in good soil.


  2. Your alliums are really ahead of mine: the bulbs are formed but not yet fully open. I have several varieties including the A. Giganteum which unfortunately has not emerged this year( ??) : weird while the A ‘Purple Sensation’, A. Sphaerocephalon and A. Christophii alongside have developed well…
    Very nice photo of the bumblebee foraging these flowers of geraniums.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I planted a load of Allium Purple Sensation and find them so obliging and easy, it will be nice if they self-seed. Lovely capture of the Tulipa sprengeri in the evening light, and of the bumblebees. Very sad to hear these tulips are going extinct in the wild, is that because of lack of habitat or global warming?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t be sure of the reason for the tulips becoming extinct but wonder if they are on the same road as snowdrops in the same area – over dug from the wild to supply the demands of gardeners?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This afternoon brought a sudden change to our weather with the first clearly warm day in ages with 17C/62F. A beautiful afternoon! This is warm enough for us and any more can soon become uncomfortable – Irishmen melt at 25C!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The tulips are superbly photogenic and beautifully photographed, iI still have a pot of seed sown, but nothing happening in two years. ‘Broadleigh Rose’ brings back memories, I grew ‘Broadleigh Peacock’ for years but lost it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a lovely blue one from Broadleigh but it never had the vigour of ‘Broadleigh Rose’ and is barely hanging on to life; a pity as it is very pretty.


  5. ‘Beauty of Livermere’ does very well here – it’s a beauty, but not a fan of inclement weather as you say.

    I can’t remember whether I said this previously, but I very much like the new layout for the photos. Your photography is always excellent and I think displaying them all together, with the option to see the full size picture, works well.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I often think I use too many photographs but I enjoy photography; walk our own garden with the camera most days and wouldn’t consider visiting a garden without it. Many thanks for your kind comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting to hear that the seeded alliums are lighter in colour. I have plenty of seedlings but they are still at the young stage. The iris are very beautiful too, something I must increase my stock of.

    Liked by 1 person

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