Multi-flowering Tulip

"See here! -- a Tulip richly laced
to please a royal fairy's taste!"

-George Darley


'Georgette' is one of the most vigorous of multiflowering, multi-headed, or bouquet tulips.

The category of multiflowering tulips is only semi-official, & they are not really of a single type, some short ones being bred from greigii tulips, the tall ones from triumphs, early, or late flowering hybrid tulips.

GeorgetteEven though their heritages & appearances diverge dramatically in size & bloom period, they nevertheless have this one behavior that is so unique that gardeners cannot help but lump them together as "multiflowering."

A single stem rises from each bulb then divides into anywhere from two to seven flower heads. One of ours had nine blooms. The first photo shows a single bulb's production of five, three at the top of the stem, & two more from forks halfway down the stem.

'Georgette' happens to be a single-late tulip, eighteen to twenty inches tall. The catalog said it blooms in May, but in our garden it was in full bloom by mid-April, when the photos on this page were taken.

The single-late class is itself a catch-all of tulips so long crossbred & re-crossbred that it is no longer possible to identify them as Darwins, or Cottage hybrids, or any other particular class with which they might once have been associated. The commonality of single-late tulips is that they tend to be among the last of the tulips of the year to reach full flower, & each bloom is the basic minimal egg type. The group tends also to be fairly tall, though 'Georgette' is only moderately so.

GeorgetteTheir half-opening egg-shaped blooms express themselves in clear yellow or orange-sherbert; the first two photos show the perfect yellow clearness.

As the blooms age they gain slender outlining streaks of brightest scarlet, as can be seen in the third photo just getting started. Before the flowers are fading, the red edging will have bled further & further into the petals.

It will do well in chilly or temperate climates, but 'Georgette' will not do well above Zone 8.

Our gardens have more botanicals than hybrid tulips, & the hybrids are not our personal favorites because they cannot naturalize, & many aren't even as longlived as single bulbs. The multiflowering 'Georgette' is apt to produce its amazing hydra-headed flower bunches for only two years running before the bulbs begin to wear themselves out. Such a feature can actually be used to advantage if there are areas which need temporary color but which spots will be needed for other things after a year or two.

We placed ten 'Georgette' bulbs in a high-sun-exposure area. That same night a racoon dug up the bulbs but left them unbitten. I had used some bonemeal with the planting & this is what attracted the racoon, so in replanting them I added some very plain soil over the surface hoping it wouldn't smell so interesting to the racoon a second time.

This patch of multiflowering tulips was situated alongside two dwarf pomegrante bushes, but "dwarf" means they won't become trees, not that they're otherwise tiny. These pomegrantes can actually become substantial shrubs, so that after a couple of years there will no longer be room for the tulips, so it's no problem that the bulbs will most likely be worn out by then.


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