Drama Queens I: Tulipa ‘Slawa’

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Ladies and gentlemen, for my 800th post, may I present you with the first of two floral drama queens; a bold, brassy diva of a Triumph tulip named ‘Slawa’. Those who speak the language will know that ‘Sława’ means ‘fame’ in Polish, and one can instantly appreciate why the name was chosen. From dusky-red buds unfold stunning petals, stained the colour of vintage port, edged with a wide band of pure tangerine-orange. This exotic combination is unusual in a tulip and was discovered in a field of another tulip named ‘Gavota’, which has the same port wine petals, only edged with golden-yellow. It’s what’s called a ‘sport’ in the horticultural world, and it’s a crackingly good sport at that.


My bulbs are planted in a 12″ terracotta pot


Flowers in bud …..


Bulb merchants suggest that the orange edging fades, first to copper and then silver as each bloom matures. Time will tell if this happens in my garden, which is only in full sun for part of the day and hence ideal for preserving the richness of any flowers prone to fading.


….. before opening out


Now I am familiar with the variety and understand its unique colouring better, I am tempted to place it alongside a good deep-red like T. ‘Burgundy’ or T. ‘Lasting Love’ and a vibrant orange such as T. ‘Queensday’.

Make no mistake, T. ‘Slawa’ need rely on no supporting act. It is magnificent on its own, densely planted in a tall terrcotta pot, or next to the emerging foliage of Cotinus coggygria. Orange wallflowers would also make an excellent companion without stealing the show, but providing the scent the tulip lacks. I’ve chosen to position Osteospermum ‘Serenity Bronze’ alongside, which is an equally dashing daisy with copper petals and a flush of magenta pink at the centre.

Tulipa ‘Slawa’ will be available from J. Parkers, Avon Bulbs and other good bulb merchants from late summer onwards.

And for my next trick: Tulipa ‘Orange Dynasty’, coming soon.


Tulipa ‘Slawa’ looks magnificent on its own ….


….. or with other tulips in a border or bulb theatre


Categories: Bulbs, Container gardening, Flowers, Our Coastal Garden, Plants

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

Greetings Garden Lover! Welcome to my blog. Plants are my passion and this is my way of sharing that joyful emotion with the world. You'll find over 1000 posts here featuring everything from abutilons to zinnias. If you've enjoyed what you've read, please leave a comment and consider subscribing using the yellow 'Follow' button in the bottom, right-hand corner of your screen. You will receive an email every time I post something new.

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31 comments On "Drama Queens I: Tulipa ‘Slawa’"

    1. Well, there was a day when I had only written 33 posts and I neither imagined nor planned that I would get to 800. It’s taken a lot of time and perseverance. Don’t be impatient with yourself. However many post you write, make sure you enjoy the process 🤓

  1. What a corker. I’ll be adding this to my (long) list of tulips. 800 posts – that’s going some – well done 🙂

  2. Congrats on so many posts – an exceptional effort, as it takes so much time and thought to put these together. I am very proud to have a friend that writes so beautifully, takes great shots, has so much knowledge and is willing to take the time to share this with so many. Thank you. What a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone post with this beauty – so glamorous! xxxxx

    1. There are more tulips to come Helen. I’ve planted some belters this year. More by chance than brilliant planning, but I can’t complain. And many were not planted until January, which is appalling practice, but has rewarded me with a late, late show. Roll on 1000!!

  3. So well done, what an achievement and a big thank you for the pleasure your blogs give me every time they ping into my inbox. I’m not a fan of any orange yellow or red tulips having grown up with a surfeit of only these colour tulips everywhere around us in holland but I’m slowly coming round to seeing these beauties in a new light now. Keep enjoying your gardening and writing about it.

    1. Hmm, yes, the Apeldoorn tulips dominated my childhood and put me off too. Happily the colours available now are so much more sophisticated and the fashions for using them have advanced no end. So pleased to hear my blogs bring you happiness. I shall keep them coming!

  4. I thougt one of my customers was 50 this year, so suprised her with a secret birthday planting of Slawa. They look amazing, and I know know she was actually 49 ! A truly magnificent bulb, which looks stunning emerging through pheasant grass. Fantastic achievement to reach to reach 800, keep on blogging. Sally

      1. Thanks Dan. I have them in one garden with Queen of the night, they look georgeous, I might well team them up with those or Ronaldo. However Parkers might bring out another must have bulb by the end of the year ! Sally

  5. Fabulous colours gathered together. Do you leave the bulbs in pots for next year or start again? Sally T

    1. I begin again in autumn Sally. Firstly, I find most bulbs don’t come back reliably a second year unless they are impeccably cared for and this is too much of a risk. Secondly, even good bulbs tend to divide into smaller ones after flowering and these take a while to reach flowering size. Lastly, I simply don’t have enough space or pots to keep them, so they are recycled for dahlias and tender perennials during the summer months.

  6. Congrats Dan. 800 already and soon 1,000 and more to come ( I hope ) . Love your posts. The tulip “Sława” looks very promising. I have to look for it . Have a nice week. 🙂

    1. Thanks Paul. We finally have some wetter weather here which is good for the garden but spoiling the flowers. One can’t have it all! Hope you manage to track down Slawa. It’s a nice sturdy tulip.

  7. Whilst ‘Slawa’ is a true stunner, I love the picture of your entire bulb theatre best: lovely combination of reds, oranges, salmons, bronzes, pinks… Looks like you enjoyed a colourful weekend.
    Congrats on reaching 800! It’s quite something – certainly a lot of effort and, for all an outsider can tell, a true labour of love. Now for the millennium… And then you must publish the lot via ‘print on demand’ or some such!!

    1. O heavens! I have been asked about a Frustrated Gardener book, but I’d need to give up the day job to have any chance of being able to read, let alone write a book. I guess the blog is a lasting record – I have even started using myself as reference …. often by accident!

      1. Well, you’ve written the book already – it’s just a matter of formatting and making it available! While of course the blog as it is is a lasting record, some readers are of a bibliophilic bend and would also enjoy the blog in a haptic format 🙂 . As far as I’m aware, there are several tools out there to make this a fairly straight-forward task, even if not ‘absolutely easy-breezy’. Not now perhaps, but maybe a project for the future? 😉

  8. Wow beautiful tulips! We have the bulbs in stores now!

    I can just salivate as I’ve never been able to get them to do anything in the tropics. I’ve never known why they’re even imported along with hundreds of other delights like giant pom pom alliums, Fritillaria persica and autumn flowering water lily Colchicum. The Dutch can sell a chair and call it a pig, master snake oil salesmen obviously because there seems to be nothing you can do with them here at all and yet every “season” Dutch flower bulb stands appear. The novelty factor of holding the lovely healthy plump bulbs in your hands is about all you get.

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