Thursday, 26 April 2012


Tulips in the garden April 2012

Tulipa Golden Apeldoorn with the darker Tulipa Apeldoorn Elite.

Tulipa Angelique with the taller Tulipa Pink Impresion in front of some roses.

Tulipa Golden Apeldoorn with the lower Tulipa Helmar in fornt of Viburnum opulus.

Tulipa Montreaux in front with Tulipa Spring Green behind and Calamagrostis Overdam and the mounds of Geranium magnificum.

The stripey Tulipa Rems Favourite with Tulipa Negrita, some hellebores, the blue haze of Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' and a Sambacus nigra just coming into leaf.

Tulipa Queen of the Night and Tulipa Shirley.

Tulipa White Triumphator backed by some Narcissus Cheerfulness.

Tulips herald the beginning of spring, their many vibrant colours breaking the yellow, white and blue that seems to dominate in the preceeding few months. I try to pair them up with another tulip that flowers at the same time and compliments one another and yet contrasts (beware there are early, mid and late flowering varieties covering 3 months!). Another lovely touch is to pick out the colour of a nearby plant in the tulip, At this time of year I like to wander around the garden and take note of bare patches and plan what type of tulip to plant next atumn to fill the gap. I have a spot where I am going to plant some purple tulips near to some purple aubretia and the Tulipa White Triumphator. If I can find it Tulipa Dreaming Maid will pick out the purple of the aubretia and tone with the white tulips:

I am on very heavy clay soil and all wise gardening lore will advise to give up on most bulbs. I hope my pictures proove that it is possible! I have one patch behind one of the benches where all the bulbs seem to vanish, it is extremely wet there, I think they rot away, but everywhere else they seem to thrive and come back year after year building up their numbers too, and that without the addition of any grit, just copious amounts of garden compost on planting and a feed with Chicken Manure and a mulch of garden or mushroom compost in late winter every year. I have never had any success with parrot style tulips - not sure why, but I don't mind that as there is so much choice I don't think I will run out of colour combinations! They began flowering in early April and are still going strong as we are about to enter May when the oriental poppies, alliums and aqualegias will take over the display, and so the flowering year joyously continues.