Meet Albert Heyn. He is a pink Fosteriana species tulip growing in my garden. The bulb could have been named either The Heyn Tulip, or Albertina, or even Alberta. Nope! Someone decided that an attractive pink tulip - flowering in a color that used to be reserved for girls - needed a courageously masculine name. It is fascinating that my generation [yes, we are older] will consider this a cultural contradiction, while thankfully, such nonsense will go unnoticed by younger people.
I deliberately chose to work with species tulips because I had been taught that such early blooming bulbs perform just like perennial do; they will re appear for years to come. My sources must know what they write about because another species tulip, a red Kaufmaniana of unknown name, has been re blooming in my garden for almost 20 years.
Most species tulips tend to flower in warm-to hot-color families. For example, the awesome Gregii Casa Grande, blooms in a fiery scarlet. Fosteriana Albert Heyn is the first pink species tulip, I have ever seen.
Pink is the favorite color of my wife, my clients, and many gardeners. When it is included in flower compositions, it puts a smile on everyone's face. That is why, for years, I searched relentlessly for a pink species tulip to enhance the early spring flowerbed.
Albert Heyn, a medium height pink variety, was offered in my area for the first time, last fall. It popped out at me, from a mail order catalog page, where I was attracted to its pink petals, highlighted with a streak of violet. It practically had a client's name all over it, one who is very partial to plants in the lilac-pink family.
Last autumn, I planted this Fosteriana tulip for several clients' but did not reserve enough for myself. Now that I have observed the performance of only a few of these bulbs in my own garden - the peach overcast that appears on the petals in hot sun is a welcome surprise - I intend to add more.
Next season, my test flowerbeds will benefit from the early punch of pink that this species tulip delivers. It will bring a smile to our faces; and no one will care that its given name is Albert.