It’s that time of year when the garden is in its full spring glory, although this year spring has been a little on the strange side with daffodils & narcissi still flowering in May, this has given the spring garden added depth.
The tulips are revealing their full splendour, tulips have amazing diversity in colour shape and size, their is a tulip to suit every garden situation and a tulip to suit everybody from the pale and mellow to the hot and vibrant their is a tulip for you. Tulips are mostly annuals but there are some varieties that can be left in place for a few years. Here is a list of some of the categories and varieties which have a little more staying power.
All Tulipa varieties are idea for naturalising, Sylvestris is one of the oldest varieties dating back to the sixteen hundreds it has a lovely fragrance and is ideal for planting in short grass it can be vigorous; it can spread by undergrounds shoots, other varieties to have a look at are Pulchella, Clusiana, Humilus varieties also Honky Tonk, Vvedenski Henry Hudson, Linifolia, Tarda & Turkestanica, Praestans, their are some lovely varieties in this section and are worth a place in the garden or tubs, rock garden, front of border even the woodland.
Other varieties to put on your list are Darwin Hybrid Apeldoorn, Golden Apeldoorn, Olympic Flame, Apeldoorn Elite, Ad Rem, Triumph Tulips Negrita, Mistress, Ile de France, Couleur Cardinal, Lily Flowered Ballade, White Triumphator, Ballerina, Viridiflora Spring Green, Greenland, Parrot Tulip Flaming Parrot, Fringed Tulip Burgundy Lace, Curly Sue, Multi-Headed Toronto Fosteriana, Kaufmanniana & Greigii Tulips are also good varieties to consider.
Of course Tulips need help to build up there flower potential, feeding with high potash fertiliser especially when the tulips are around 15cm high; you can do this every couple of weeks up to flowering then stop, deadheading is very important as soon as the flower begins to lose its colour off with its head, you don’t want it to produce seed, it is important to let the growth die back for at least six weeks.
Depending on your soil it may be better to lift and dry the tulip bulbs after flowering, follow the previous information, deadhead and wait at least six weeks before lifting. If you want the space for other plants lift and put in trays or trench in the garden out of site until all the green growth has gone. Clean all the soil off the bulbs and bin any that look diseased or have been damaged do not compost old tulips bulbs. Make sure the bulbs as completely dry before storing them away. Replant tulips late in autumn. Of course all gardens from soils, moisture and warmth are different and so this can only be used as a guide.
Store the bulbs in trays or net sacks in warm (not hot) shed or room that is a little dark and well ventilated. I use old tights (washed of course) I put one variety and label in one leg and tie but not too tight, then I put the next on top and continue up to the body do the same in both legs, I then hang them in the shed where the bulbs can get ventilation. Gentlemen I’m sure your wife/girlfriend will help you out with laddered tights. When I’m ready to replant I just cut the bottom of each section out comes the one variety of tulip together with label this stops them getting mixed up in storage, I use them for storing all my bulbs but not my Dahlias they need a completely different type of storage.
Talk to your neighbours especially older neighbours who’ve been growing tulips for years, they will have experience of varieties that they have left in and come back year on year, new gardening friendships are made, a sense of community grows with sharing and exchanging ideas and tips