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.
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.