Early Harvest

'Early Harvest'
Waterlily Tulip

Tell the flamboyant poet this from me
"What use your fire if but a tulip-spark?
It neither melts you with its heat nor makes
An evening of some saddened heart less dark."

-Allama Iqbal,


Tulipa kaufmanniana 'Early Harvest' is a brilliantly multicolored waterlily tulip with intense shades of red, gold, & orange in its presentation.

Early HarvestIn autumn 2004 we planted ten 'Early Harvest' bulbs, alongside ten T. greigii 'Red Riding Hood' which are about the same size, along the front of the sump-pump. Growing all about these is a fancy clover, Trifolilum repens atropurpureum 'Dark Dancer,' so that the spot will not look bare when the tulips are not present.

'Early Harvest' stands about eight to ten inches tall with large blooms. Kaufmannianas are called waterlily tulips because they open into six-pointed stars on sunny days, resembling waterlilies, but 'Early Harvest' has rounded rather than pointed flower petals & does not share the usual species trait.

The large leaves are mottled with magenta markings, which is the give-aay that T. greigii is in its heritage.

It is called 'Early Harvest' because kaufamannianas are in general the first tulips to flower either late winter or earliest in spring or even late winter, & 'Early Harvest' is the earliest of the early.

Because its bud is brightly colored the instant it peeps out of the ground, it brings color to the garden for an extra week before it even flowers. The buds are already beautiful when about three inches tall, in the midst of three inches of young leaves.

In our garden its first year it showed these fat colorful buds on the last couple days of February; the first few fully open before the end of the first week of March. Other kaufmannianas are opening about the same time, but the similar greigiis hold back for a couple weeks.

'Early Harvest' for its second year, after a winter that was warmish & extremely wet, the first fat colorful bud appeared by mid-January with several colorful buds by January's end. None of the buds fully opened before February, but it was nevertheless kind of an amazement to have even just the bright orange-red buds as fantastically early as January.

Full sun is preferred, though a smidgen of shade will be tolerated; ours are getting full morning-to-noon sun only.


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