It’s blisteringly hot here & the sky is a cloudless, deep blue, but it’s time to think about the garden next spring, specifically it’s time to plan & order tulips that’ll flower then.
I love tulips in almost all their varieties & I’m excited about growing them here because all the landscape works will be finished in a few weeks time. I’ve been longing to plant up the garden since we moved here 18 months ago, there isn’t a single tulip growing in the whole garden, which is a very sad state of affairs.
They’re best planted in October-November when the cold has knocked back fungal & viral diseases, order them now for the best chance of getting exactly what you want & they’ll be delivered in a few weeks time.
I took a few photos at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, so I hope this whets your tulip appetite.
You can buy tulips that flower in March, but I like the late-April early-May flowering because they flower just when the daffodils have finished flowering in mid-April.
Remove plastic packaging when they arrive & store them in a cool place where air can circulate around them, & they can’t be eaten by mice.
Plant them 15-20cm deep & about 15cm apart in a sunny or part-shaded area of the garden, place them on a layer of grit if the soil is heavy. Select up to 3 different colours that you like together & make sure they flower at the same time, it doesn’t matter if the heights are a bit different, it adds a a kind of texture to the whole thing.
Planting distances are different for tulips in pots, they’re planted much closer together, just a couple of centimetres apart & need a covering of 5cm of compost. I use a mix of John Innes loam-based compost & multi-purpose compost with a layer of fine grit in the bottom for good drainage.
Resist the temptation to tidy & cut off the foliage after flowering, give it a feed of balanced fertiliser & leave the foliage to turn brown & wither away, letting the bulb fatten up & store energy for flowering again next year.
Do the same with tulips in pots, but dig them up & plant them in the garden.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the week.
all photos: Jill Anderson.