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Right, that’s quite enough cheerfulness, time to start complaining again.

My tulips are lovely, and I feel a little mealy-mouthed saying anything but delighted things about them, but they are not as they should be.

As usual I popped a slew of extra tulips in last autumn to back up what might or might not have survived the winter: I have pretty good tulip-overwintering soil, being sandy and free-draining, but you never can tell.

However the tulips I put in were not, you might say, the tulips they purport to be.

For example:

Tulipa ‘Apeldoorn’

Good tulip:

Bad tulip:

Tulipa ‘White Triumphator’

Good tulip:

(with thanks to Crocus for the pic)

Bad tulip:

And even worse tulip:

Tulipa ‘West Point’

Good tulip:

(Crocus again)

Bad tulip:

The ‘Queen of Night’ are looking like they ought to at the moment, but there is an ominous streaking to my ‘Orange Cassini’ buds. And the ‘Ballerina’ and ‘Spring Green’ aren’t open yet so I shall be interested to see what we end up with there.

It’s not that I’m complaining exactly: I still have a spectacular display of rather lovely tulips (except the split ‘Triumphator’ – I really do detest those). But they ain’t what I ordered.

To their credit the bulb company have apologised profusely and I shall be enjoying a free supply of 450 tulip bulbs this autumn. But I do have to wonder what happened.

Did they think most people wouldn’t know their ‘West Point’ from their ‘President Kennedy’ and don’t care anyway (‘it’s yellow, innit?’)

Or is there some wierd virus mutation thing going on here? Is the purity of tulip bulbs becoming muddied by the endless hybridising and the multiple-million bulb turnovers of the big Dutch companies?

Answers on a postcard, please…