I have always loved dwarf species tulips, especially the kaufmanniana hybrids (water-lily tulips). Kaufmanniana tulips bloom in early spring and come back reliably year after year, requiring no attention at all. ‘Heart’s Delight’, planted under my sheep sculpture, is particularly successful and I now have a dense clump.
The scarlet greigii hybrid, ‘Red Riding Hood’, is another reliable early performer, but the leaves are always attacked by slugs. Tulipa hageri ‘Little Beauty’ is a dwarf species tulip doing well in a pot. The bright pink flowers have deep blue centres.
These early tulips are over by May, but now I am enjoying Tulipa linifolia and Tulipa linifolia batalinii ‘Bronze Charm’, both planted in my well drained rock garden.
My tulip season finishes with Tulipa sprengeri, an elegant bright-red species tulip that does not flower until the end of May. I have sprinkled seeds in several places – I just have to avoid inadvertently digging them up.