Sarah Coles

Olympic Flame

April and the tulips in the pots and scattered over the garden make the place look on fire.  Apeldoorn Elite particularly is a star, with the three essential Apeldoorn signatures, soft orange red petals, a black star at the base of the tulip bowl, and reappearing year after year.

In the time of 17th century tulip mania, when Dutch bulbs exchanged hands for thousands of guilders, the most coveted were ones with flames streaking up the petal sides.  In fact this was caused by a virus, so no wonder these prized wonders did not last that long!  I craved some.  Today, the same streaks have been bred into tulips, with no virus whatsoever.  So this year, I have bowls of Olympic Flame, such fun, imitating the old ones.  Yellow with tongues of red fire!  However, not all bulbs are identical, and some turn out to be plain yellow.  They’d look best from a distant mixed with some Apeldoorn Elite, and I doubt if left they will reappear next year.

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