When I first discovered parrot tulips 20-odd years ago, I thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I'm very keen on sliced bread. Since then, one of my favourites has been 'Estella Rijnveld' which is like an exploded raspberry ripple ice cream, and I ordered some bulbs for this spring. So I think these 'Bastogne' parrot tulips must be a packing mistake as I didn't include this variety in my order.
I was reading Michael King's book earlier this week, and in it he describes parrot tulips as 'grotesque'. A little harsh, I thought, until I picked these today. The problem with this parrot in particular - not all parrots are as wild as this - is that they have ceased to look like tulips and started to look like some badly contorted flower that has gone a little mad. In fact, 'as mad as a vase of Bastogne parrot tulips' would be a good alternative to 'as mad as a box of frogs'.
To show you what I mean, here are today's other, saner tulips:
(the mauve tulip at the bottom is 'Blue Parrot', possibly the least mad parrot tulip of all)