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120521_453_Tulipa batalinii 'Apricot Jewel'.jpg
Tulipa batalinii 'Apricot Jewel'. A cross between the wild Tulipa batalinii and another species tulip, Tulipa maximoviczii, made by W.R. Dykes in the late 1800s. It made its way to what was then and now is again St. Petersburg (there's an old, long-traveled route between the middle east and Russia that goes back to Genghis Khan). A Dr Batalin, director of the botanic gardens there, sent it to Kew. 'Apricot Jewel' starts out a clear orange-yellow, then gradually turns to a pale peach-orange. As it ages, you'll sometimes see feathery red picotee edgings or red streaks in the petals. Sometimes it bypasses the flashy colors, and fades into a pale, green-accented peach. Like all tulips, 'Apricot Jewel' is variable, according to the weather, soil, and its own fine whims. (Pomona Belvedere on