Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Dig In | Plantsman's Favourites -

Pre­serv­ing and ex­pand­ing her col­lec­tion of English florists’ tulips is a labour of love for Polly. She loves the jewel-like tones of th­ese gar­den an­tiques, some of which have pedi­grees dat­ing back to the 18th cen­tury. The streaked and splashed pe­tals of the ‘bro­ken’ forms are caused by in­fec­tion by the tulip break­ing virus; the taller, sin­gle-tone cul­ti­vars are the ‘breed­ers’, grown to be de­lib­er­ately in­fected in search of new breaks. “We had an amaz­ing break this spring from a ‘Fairy Nymph’ (see above) iden­ti­fied by [writer and gar­dener] Anna Pa­vord,” says Polly. “We’ve pot­ted the bul­blets on and we’re try­ing to cre­ate a tiny stock. I love the fact that we are pre­serv­ing a thread of that his­tory.”

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