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.
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.
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.