To be successful they demand extremely good drainage and if planted in regular garden soil will rot. I have had that happen on more than one occasion. The most successful location has been alongside a claret cup cactus clump in my front courtyard and close by an artichoke agave. Clearly the drainage there is perfect. There, they have bloomed for at least 10 years.
This particular variety is Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane' but there are several other that do well in southern gardens. I bought a couple more packets this year. The bulbs are small compared with the hybrid tulips. It is easy to see which way to plant them and I added grit to the bottom of the hole to make sure the base of the bulb stays dry.
Tulipa 'Tinka' is yellow with red outer tepals.
And this short flowering Tulipa humilis 'Persian red'
I don't think I had ever thought much about why flowers open and close as they do but watching this fascinating program I learnt that as the day warms up the cells on the inner surface of the tepals grow faster than the cells on the outside and the flower opens, then at the end of the day the cells on the outside of the tepal grow faster and the flower closes.
I had heard about Tulipmania in Holland in the 1600s but was to learn more during the program when Carol visited a grower of tulips in Amsterdam. There he showed a 'broken' tulip among his flowers. These rare, beautifully marked flowers, the result of a virus, were the cause of tulip mania. The most famous of all being Semper Augustus. Today broken tulips are removed and destroyed for fear of the virus spreading among the other bulbs. Modern day broken tulips have been bred to form stable bulbs but none are as beautiful of that one that caused Tulip Mania.
Fascinated by the story we watched the film available on Netflix but were disappointed in the story they told. I think I will learn more by reading the book The Tulip by Anna Pavord.