Although other Tulip varieties were still emerging when I shot this series, the Parrots were popping, and my favorite may have been this Pink And White blossom.
And why, you may wonder, are they called Parrots? Not, it seems, for their fringed petals, but for their incredibly vivid tropical colors.
Parrot tulips are the result of a spontaneous gene mutation that produces their astonishing shapes and hues, and they cannot be grown from seeds.
The grower must reproduce the more successful mutations asexually, by taking cuttings or dividing the bulbs.
It’s not clear to me how you then would cross breed them to create new colors, but it’s apparently done—and if you’re a grower who knows how to do this, I’d love to learn the process.
Parrot Tulips have been grown in Europe for hundreds of years and have proven hardy in North American gardens. If you grow tulips and feel so inclined, indulge!