After dismissing the 'anything as long as it's red and yellow' style of tulip planting on Facebook, I looked at today's bunch and saw that, yes, many of them are red and yellow. Speaking too soon and all that, maybe. But not quite.
There are yellow tulips and yellow tulips, red tulips and red tulips, and even red and yellow tulips. So many of the red and yellow tulips I see around are the very simple, tall, upright, classic, child's drawing tulips. Nothing wrong with them, but when you see what else you can get in the way of red and yellow tulips, it's a shame to go with the type that appear in children's books and illustrations and on Easter egg pacakaging and Easter cards (since when did we send those?). There are all sorts of shades of yellow (primrose, butter, lemon etc) and red (vermilion, scarlet, maroon, ruby, port etc) and all sorts of shapes and heights (lily-flowered, double, parrot etc). So many in fact that if you only grew red and yellow tulips, you'd still have brilliantly varied bunches and effects. But I like mixing it up more and find that bright lemon tulips set off deep purple tulips beautifully, and that red work wonderfully with peaches, pinks and oranges, and red and yellow tulips are great on their own. And so it goes on until the end of the season, as I make as many wild bunches as possible.
One day I'm going to write a short and simple book on tulips. It will be colourful, full of details of all the varieties I like, with lots of wild and mixed bunches, tulip stories, and all you need to know about growing them (ie a short section, not like some tulip books which make growing them sound incredibly difficult and fraught). It will not be dry and botanical, or full of lists, or try to cover the whole tulip world, but it will go way beyond red and yellow.