Non-native Tulips

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There’s a lot happening in the backyard these days. However, it’s the redbud and tulips that are attracting attention. I’m taking a fair amount of ribbing from friends about my non-native tulips. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying them immensely. They were planted, at my request, by my good friend and landscaper, Beate Popkins.

Redbud (cercis canadensis) and tulips

Carolyn Summers’ recent book, Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East, is an excellent resource and I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in landscaping with native plants. I like her idea that “the ultimate landscape goal is a stunningly beautiful garden with an abundance of native plants along with occasional non-natives that have sentimental or historical value to the gardener.” I focus on native plants because they are attractive, hearty, and provide important food for wildlife including birds, butterflies, and other insects. I’m also glad to include some non-natives. These tulips and native creeping phlox seem quite happy together.

creeping phlox (Phlox sublata)

Some non-natives are invasive to the point of crowding out native plants. Summers suggests a good motto for responsible gardeners is “What grows in my garden stays in my garden.” My tulips will not stray and I enjoy their bright colors and graceful form.

4 thoughts on “Non-native Tulips”

  1. Gorgeous, Betty! We all have some favorite non-native plants. My goal is to have 75-80% natives with just a bit of room for some non-invasive exotics. Last fall a friend gave me 6 tulips bulbs. I’m enjoying them so much that I will add more next fall.

    I really like Beate’s color selection and placement. Great job! And I also like your idea of having some tulips in a separate area that are mostly just for cutting and bringing indoors. Great idea.

  2. These are just beautiful – as is your whole garden. Beate did a wonderful job. As mine begins to shape up a bit this year (third year leap), I continue to add a few non-natives to the mix. My favorite are the Japanese bleeding hearts. I worry that they may become invasive someday but I love them just the same.

  3. Betty,
    Your garden is beautiful. I love tulips. I also like to combine natives with non-natives and have lots of day lilies from a friend who hybridizes day lilies. They are spectacular in the summer. Jane

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