In Bud

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How often do we take the time to appraise a flower’s bud in quite the same we would its open bloom? Not often enough I’d suggest. Perhaps the most celebrated buds belong to the rose, but what of carnations, all crinkled and puckered, or camellias, as hard as glass marbles? Maybe you’ve marvelled at the elegance of a tightly furled lotus, or carefully observed the menacing claws of an emerging dahlia? Perchance you have popped a plumptious fuchsia bud or coaxed a lily to open her pursed petals sooner than she might? Buds are imbued with the same sense of anticipation, promise and excitement as spring itself. They deserve to be studied and appreciated in their own right.

Tulipa "Queensday" bud, The Watch House, April 2016

Pictured above is the unopened flower of Tulipa “Queensday”. This is a new tulip variety for me, selected to honour Her Majesty’s 90th birthday later this week. If found myself willing the buds to open this weekend, overlooking quite how extraordinary they already were. Their colouration is that of an exotic bird; dusky Eau de Nil with flashes of sunshine yellow and tangerine. Simple yet tantalising, a mere hint at the flamboyant, double, copper-orange blooms that are to follow. The buds may prove equal to, if not more beautiful than the flowers. They are certainly more sophisticated. I can only imagine Her Majesty would approve.


What are your favourite flowers when in bud? Are there any you are willing to open this week?

Tulipa "Queensday" bud, The Watch House, April 2016

Categories: Bulbs, Flowers, Musings, Photography, Plants

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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27 comments On "In Bud"

  1. Not quite as special, but I think my favourite would have to be the unknown variety of rhododendron in our small front garden. When we moved in nearly 3 years ago the front garden was very overgrown and we had some 4 or 5 trees/large shrubs removed. The rhododendron wasn’t discovered for a further year (neighbours had no idea it was there, or what colour the flowers might be). Last year it flowered. Knockout! I can’t wait for this year’s blooms!

    1. Funnily enough I was going to include rhododendrons in this post. They have wonderful, interesting buds but I couldn’t liken them to anything. I love the way they begin in cone formation and open out to form an alien Sputnik before blooming. I can never get enough of rhododendrons so can imagine you are chuffed to find you have a good one. It will love you for giving it space and light.

  2. Love the way all tulip buds are green, and the sun suddenly paints them in wonderful colours. Really, it’s difficult to have an absolute favourite, each flower in bud is so full of promise. Bearded Iris are marvellously elegant though.

    1. They are. Irises and poppies seem to be emerging as favourites June. One of the many plants I wish I could grow are bearded irises. Not sunny enough in any of my gardens but, one day I hope. I will do an update on how “Queensday” develops.

  3. I think seeing any bud is exciting because you can admire its beauty while you anticipate the bloom. It’s part of the thrill of spring. I don’t have any buds outside except for trees, but I am really excited that my Bishop of Llandaff Dahlia bulbs are sprouting inside in their pots. πŸ™‚

    1. Goodness, that’s quick Judy! Some of my dahlias are sprouting, but most of them are still thinking about it. They need a little more heat than I can offer them. I hope yours grow big and strong πŸ˜€

  4. Loved pulling the ‘hats’ off Eschscholzia as a child – still do it!
    But this week waiting with bated breath for the first bud on my Strelitzia to flower

  5. I consider myself a flower stalker, so am always waiting for buds to appear or to open. Some of my favourites are round, tight peony buds, though I see them all too rarely so don’t find them easy to stalk. I’m overseas at the moment, so have got my eye on some peonies around the neighbourhood, together with an old cemetery full of rose buds that seem about a week off flowering.

  6. This is exactly why I find forcing flowers in winter so thrilling…the flower is watched and admired at every stage. Hippeastrum, in particular, are great fun.

    1. I have an admission. My hippeastrums are only just coming up. I bought them in Holland in early December and left them in a cupboard where I discovered the bulbs about three weeks ago. They seem unfazed and are coming up a treat now. It will be like having Christmas all over again!

  7. What a lovely post!
    I love Manolia buds with the furry lower parts – sepals?
    I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to squeeze open a bud but some flowers and stems – snapdragon flowers, and sometimes bluebell stems which have a sqeaky sound as one pulls at them (ie, to pick them).

    1. I agree, Val; this is a wonderful post — thanks, Dan. Iris are coming into bloom here; for some reason their opening reminds me of unwrapping a bottle of exquisite olive oil that has been tightly enveloped in a protective coating of tissue paper.

    2. I know what you mean about bluebell stems Val. I pulled some of the Spanish kind for the house last weekend (they smell amazing) and heard that satisfying squeak as they gave way! Magnolias are an excellent bud “pick”.

  8. Hollyhock buds would be my favorite if I had to choose for the pleasure of making and playing with dolls from them when young.
    Mary Oliver’s poem ” Peonies ” captures my passion for flowers and beauty and begins with:

    This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
    to break my heart
    as the sun rises,
    as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

  9. I’ve been waiting for a ‘black’ auricula to come into bloom – it obliged yesterday!! That T. Queensday bud is just glorious!!

  10. Great post, as usual… Haven’t seen T. ‘Queensday’ before…lovely! So many great nascent blooms…flower buds of course are so intensely beatiful and anticipatory…all expectation and possibility. Fuzzy magnolia buds, of M. loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ or M. sieboldii, ever-so-slowly emerging from the gray velveteen sepals…Also love fern fronds… the gooseneck-like early rachis tips of Polystichums, the deep rose ones of Osmunda regalis purpureum, tightly clustered, then unfurling like a leafy fingers. Shall never see a fuschia in bud now without thinking ‘plumptious’ : )

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