Two of the most unusual tulips we offer are the peppermint-striped T. clusiana, and stiletto-petalled T. acuminata – both of which have been grown and loved by a couple of unusually creative Southern gardeners.
In his 1993 classic The Well-Placed Weed, the celebrated Atlanta-area garden designer Ryan Gainey featured a masterfully harmonious combination: T. acuminata planted alongside American columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) in an informal cottage garden display where the red-and-yellow colors and wispy shapes of the two flowers echo one another perfectly.
A half-century earlier, the great Southern author Eudora Welty wrote to a friend from her home in Jackson, Mississippi (as quoted in One Writer’s Garden), “Species tulips are hard to get now, but I love them best. You know, the little wild tulips that still have lightness and grace and perfume and the clear delicate colors that I guess all original flowers had. One is clusiana, that you know, the white and red striped tulip with violet blotch.... They are all small and sort of bow in the wind and flare up.”