It hasn't been a long tulip season, and ours has been much reduced this year. This is probably the last decent bunch I'll pick - but even this is a bonus.
Late tulips are darker and more intense in colour than the pale peach, pink, primrose, and ivory early tulips. They build to a crescendo of colour, height and exuberance, and many of my favourite varieties are the later ones.
Tulips (1929) Mark Gertler, Bradford
I'm picky about tulips in paintings, too. Some are wishy-washy and bland, pretty but pretty unexciting.
I'd much rather have the colour, drama and passion of Mark Gertler (1891-1939),
Tulips and Mimosa (1929) Mark Gertler, Oldham
Flowers in a Brown Vase (1932) Mark Gertler (Government Art Collection)
and the wonderful modern versions of C17 Dutch flower paintings by Cedric Morris,
Irises and Tulips (1950s) Cedric Morris, Walsall
Irises and Tulips (1928) Cedric Morris, Government Art Collection
who both use royal blue to great effect, and capture the brilliance and boldness of the best tulips.
I'm already wondering what to plant for this time next year - and how I can get royal blue into the mix.