Tulips – Spring’s Colorful Contributions

colorful tulip varieties

in the Rockies, Spring is a veritable roller-coaster ride of weather. Winter is not ready to loosen its grip with its late season snow, while Spring is fighting for authority. In these unpredictable conditions, blooming tulips  abound. Wild species tulips in countless varieties along with their more well-known hybridized brethren brighten the landscape.  Needless to say, it makes for some wonderful photo ops!

So Many Tulip Varieties

Wandering around the xeriscape garden where I love to photograph flowers, I’m slowly learning more about the different tulip varieties that grow there. Names such as – desert tulips, wildflower tulips, miniature tulips, botanical tulips and some I’ve yet to figure out. By my observations, some of these tulips tend to to have smaller, pointy flower petals with thinner almost grass-like leaves. They grow MUCH lower to the ground. Hence, these varieties are well suited for a xeriscape garden.

Gotta love these colorful, perky little fellas who seem to be right at home growing in rocky gardens. After the Dwarf Iris are gone, and the Pasque flowers are beginning to wane, these tulip varieties take center stage for my attention!

Lady Jane miniature tulips close-up
Lady Jane miniature tulips.
Magenta and yellow Persian Pearl miniature tulips.
Magenta and yellow Persian Pearl miniature tulips.
Bright red botanical tulips in the morning sun.
Bright red botanical tulips in the morning sun.

Around the Neighborhood

Walking around the neighborhood you see gardens bursting with more conventional tulips in shades of yellows, oranges and reds. They come in many varieties and are still equally as beautiful. Their textures alone can be magical.

Photographing them in the morning sun can result in lovely translucent tulip petals. I’ve found this particularly noticeable in the larger orange tulips. Admittedly the orange and yellow colored tulips are a personal favorite so perhaps I’m a bit biased.

Orange and red tulip close-up with translucent flower petals.
Big orange and yellow tulip opening in the morning sun.
Red and white "broken" tulip close-up soft focus.
Red and white “broken” tulip.
Big orange tulip with translucent flower petals.
Translucent orange tulip petals.

Sometimes Bees Drop In

All these colors do not go unnoticed by the local pollinators. Sometimes honey bees even show up to tap into some early spring pollinating opportunities. It’s always a joy to see the little guys buzzing around and they have the right of way.

bee on orange tulip
Honey bee hovering over orange tulip in early spring.

Some Grow Boldly Among the Cactus

Some tulips appear to be fearless. Not only do they brave the unpredictable spring elements, they grow in rocky gardens right among the cactus! These little, yellow botanical tulips were keeping some odd company. Too bad these yellow Candlestick tulips and soon to be flowering cactus (notice the little red buds) don’t bloom at the same time. That would be incredible flower and color combo!

miniature yellow wildflower tulips growing up through cactus
Yellow Candlestick wildflower tulips growing up through barrel cactus.

Spring is a Bounty of Color

Spring is certainly a bounty of color with all of its tulip varieties. And we were blessed with all the early spring moisture and cool temps which brought forth the explosion of all the wildflower and botanical tulips!

It’s amazing what you can find growing so close by. Often all you need to do is head out your door on foot – with camera in tow of course. Nature is all hands on deck – ready to burst and visually delight. It’s a feast for the eyes 🙂

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