Purple Tulip'Atilla"
Triumph Tulip

"Dutch tulips from their beds
Flaunted their stately heads."

-The Adventure of a Star
by James Montgomery


We have planted mainly species tulips rather than hybrids, but the year we first bought the house, Granny Artemis did put in some Triumph Tulips, plus there were a few Triumphs still popping up from former owners' plantings.

Years later, a few of these "ordinary" hybrids still pop up here & there in the garden. They're not thriving, as hybrids tend to age & weaken & do not perennialize as nicely as do species tulips. Plus the surrounding flourishing gardens, by increasing the shade ratio every year, makes life harder for sun-loving tulips. I've thought from time to time that if I dug these random bulbs up & put them out on the sunny roadside they'd be revitalized, but I'd rather give over the ideal locations to the species tulips, & so let the old hybrids struggle along mostly ignored.

The first photo, snapped in April 2002, shows one of these random tulips with pastel purple bloom, & some tiny white squill nearby. Though I don't know what specific Triumph this would be, my best guess is 'Atilla.' Of the lingering hybrids, 'Atilla' blooms simultaneously with a Apeldoorn Darwin hybrid, followed soonafter by the purple-black 'Queen of Night,' followed by a yellow Triumph. There will be some of them here & there from mid-April until well into May.

Tulip's throatThis one's growing up amidst the limbs of the Oyama Magnolia that has not yet sprouted many leaves at mid-April, so the tulip almost gets the sun it wants. As other colored Triumphs vanished over time, these purple ones continue. A group of Triumphs elsewhere in the yard in fuller sun used to be mixed colors but now only the pastel purples are there.

The second photo taken April 2003 is from the other patch, snapped in order to show the grey-blue inside-bottom of the cup.

Even though I can see why hybrid tulips are so popular, they'll never out-rate the botanical tulips in my esteem. "Never say never," but we're not likely to intentionally plant a lot of hybrid tulips, though every autumn we add more & more species tulips, such as T. bakeri, T. batalini, T. clusiana, T. hageri, T. kaufmaniana, T. kolpakowskiana, T. marjolettii, T. urumiensis & many others, which we find better suited to naturalistic settings.


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