Like most fragrant tulips, ‘Generaal de Wet’ is an early-blooming variety. And—also like most fragrant tulips—its petals are quite tasty and can be used in salads.
Like ‘Apricot Beauty’, most fragrant tulip cultivars are early-blooming varieties. I guess they are Mother Nature’s way of tempting sleepy bees to wake from winter’s sleep. These early, fragrant tulips include both single- and double-flowered types. Some of my favorite singles include ‘Generaal de Wet’, a wonderful, softly blushed orange tulip; ‘Prinses Irene’ (often sold as ‘Princess Irene’), another sweet-smelling orange flower; and ‘Couleur Cardinal’, a beautiful, dark-red flower with a violet blush and a light, sweet scent.
Some of the early, doubleflowered tulips are not only fragrant, but also boast flowers as fulsome as any peony. Of these, I like the yellow ‘Mr. van der Hoef’; ‘Electra’, a pinkish-red beauty; and ‘Schoonoord’, a lovely pure white.
I’ve also discovered a few fragrant tulips that appear a little later in the season—a few mid-season Darwin Hybrid tulips caught my attention this past year, when I discovered two new varieties to add to my list of fragrant favorites. ‘Silverstream’ is a pale, cream color with a fine, sweet scent and leaves edged with pink. ‘Holland’s Glory’ is another standout—it sports huge, orange-red blossoms on strong, 2-foot-tall stems. Darwin Hybrids are the tulips that are most likely to return for several years to bloom again in your garden.