• Hello new tulips (and goodbye neonicotinoids)

    With the drop in the temperature we've been able to get out into the garden much more and now the dahlias have been trimmed (in the hope of another flush of flowers) we're thinking about our tulips for the spring.

    This is a rather exciting (well, maybe we should say nerve wracking) year here at Peter Nyssen because we've decided to source all our bulbs free from neonicotinoid pesticides. These chemicals have been found to adversely effect the health of our precious pollinators so we've decided to demand all our bulbs are supplied without using them. As of next year they'll be banned across the board but we like to be a step ahead of the curve!

    Where we haven't been able to guarantee these chemicals have been used we've had to replace many of our  tried and true favourites with new, but equally fabulous new varieties. So if you're hankering after the gorgeous tulips you grew this year but they're no longer available, fret not: here's our list of brilliant replacements.

    Tulip Cheers replaces Tulip Calgary Flames

    Tulip White Dream replaces Tulip Royal Virgin

    Tulip Yellow Flight replaces Tulip Yellow King

    Tulip Silk Road replaces Tulip Verona

    Tulip Gorilla replaces Tulip Curly Sue

    Tulip Daytona replaces Tulip Swan Wings

    Tulip Continental replaces Tulip Cafe Noir

    Tulip Jackpot replaces Tulip Fontainbleu

    Tulip Mascara replaces Tulip Jan Reus

    Tulip Lighting Sun replaces Tulip Orange Sun

    Tulip Salmon van Eijk replaces Tulip Sake

    Tulip Florijn Chic replaces Tulip Cistula

    Tulip Cartouche replaces Tulip Belicia

    Tulip Royal Virgin replaces Tulip White Marvel

    And for completeness sake, some tulips are no longer grown or the harvest was particularly poor. We've done our best to replace them with good alternatives where possible:

    Tulip Ayann replaces Tulip Recreado

    Tulip Big Love replaces Tulip Survivor

    Tulip Amazing Parrot replaces Tulip Irene

    Tulip White Rebel replaces Tulip Super Parrot

    Tulip Dragon King replaces Tulip Colour Spectacle


  • Honey, who shrunk the tulips?

    Well, it would appear Mother Nature's had a little hiccup this year! We all noticed our plants started growing later than normal and some of ours are looking positively stunted. Some tulips, especially the early varieties, have suffered at the hands of nature’s haphazard ways. They simply can’t cope with too much variability from the norm.

    Tulips, as a rule should be planted from the end of October. They will grow well planted up to the end of January but a long winter in ground under 9 degrees Celsius is essential to a producing a good root system and the best flowers. This year’s warm, wet winter has played havoc with this process. Add in the wild card of heavy snow and hard frost in March and some of our tulips have produced much shorter and smaller flowers than usual.

    Gardeners and professional growers throughout Europe have been struggling with shrunken flowers although it’s not all bad news for tulips. Not all varieties are as susceptible to the chaotic weather as others and the recent warm weather will have helped the later varieties bulk up their root systems ready.

    To help your tulips develop their top flower potential for next year we have the following top tips:

    1) Dress your tulips with sulphate of potash or a give them a good drenching of tomato feed every few weeks until the flower starts to fade

    2) Remove the flower as soon as possible to prevent the tulip using all its energy in producing seed. Allow the foliage to die back naturally for around 6 to 8 weeks

    3) Lift your bulbs from the soil after the foliage has turned straw-like, clean off the excess soil and dry them before storing in paper bags, onion sacks, open trays or even individual legs of old tights!

    We all hope Mother Nature will be back to her amazing best very soon!!

  • Our Top 10 Bulb Planting Tips

    autumn leavesNow Autumn has put in her first appearance and the summer gardens are coming to an end the time is now for planting spring flowering bulbs. To help you in your gardening efforts we’ve put our heads together and come up with our TOP 10 BULB PLANTING HINTS AND TIPS. Do let us know if you have any you’d like to share for the next edition of the newsletter!

    1) Prepare your soil by adding garden compost and, in heavy soils, horticultural grit and sand. For containers use a mix of John Innes No.2 with a little added grit.

    2) Squirrels, rabbits etc just love tulip, crocus and iris bulbs (amongst others). Aside from choosing Animal Resistant bulbs (use our special filter on the website) try planting your bulbs in an open weave net bag, such as an onion bag making sure the holes are big enough for the shoots to come through. Plant the whole bag in the ground and deprive the furry critters of their bulb feast.

    3) For a good rule of thumb, plant your bulbs three to four times as deep as they are high. Tulips and daffodils should be planted at least 15cm deep.

    Crocus Aitchisonii Naturalising bulbs such as crocuses look great in a lawn

    4) Running out of space in your garden? Try planting a mix of early flowering, naturalising bulbs such as snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils in your grass. Plant them using a bulb planter randomly across the lawn for a natural splash of spring colour.

    5) If you’re not sure where you have gaps in your spring planting try planting a selection of bulbs in pots ready to transplant into the spaces once the shoots start to show.

    6) Not all bulbs need dry conditions to flourish. In damp areas try Camassias or Fritillaria Meleagris.


    7) Not all bulbs need sun! Erythronium, Wood Anemone and Scilla Bifolia or Siberica all do well in the shade.

    8) Try using layer planting in containers for weeks of flowers or plant en masse in your borders for dramatic effect. Give us a call if you’d like more help with choosing suitable varieties.

    9) Water your bulbs as soon as you have planted them. This encourages root growth.

    10) If left in the ground, tulips degenerate year on year. To preserve your favourites, remove the seed head after flowering and let the foliage die back before lifting the bulbs. Store in net bags in a cool, dry place until you plant them out in the following autumn.

  • Peter Nyssen Scores Highest in Which? Best Spring Bulb Suppliers Survey

    At Peter Nyssen we have always been extremely proud of our service and quality. We are now delighted to say that Pete Nyssen has received the highest score in the Which? Best Spring-Bulb Suppliers survey (89%).

    Which? Gardening surveyed 19 companies based on their website, cost, packaging, delivery cost and time as well as whether the bulbs were true to variety. They tested popular favourites Narcissi “Tête à Tête” and “February Gold” and Tulips ”Queen of Night” and “Red Riding Hood”. They said this about Peter Nyssen "The bulbs were all good quality, uniform, firm and healthy". "...in the spring... we were given a good show of true-to-variety blooms" (Which?, August 2014).

    One of our customers sent us this lovely congratulatory note: “The bulbs all arrived yesterday....  Thank you so much for the speedy delivery. I was so delighted to see today in my Which? Gardening magazine that Peter Nyssen has come top of the Spring Bulb Sellers 'Best Buys' table. We already knew, of course, that Peter Nyssen was the best - but now everyone else knows too!!  Congratulations!”

    Karen, General Manager at Peter Nyssen said “I am so proud of all the effort everyone has made to keep our quality and service the best on the market.  We’re certainly going to work even harder to maintain our dedicated customer service, excellent quality and wide variety of products we offer”.

    We think the recommendations we receive from our customers coupled with the finding of this Which? survey are the best accolades available. As you probably know, Which? don't accept any advertising, freebies or sponsorship and execute all their own research completely independently.

    Peter Nyssen is a family run business established in 1958 with a long history in the bulb industry. This is the latest of the many accolades we are proud to have achieved on our long journey.

  • Tulips

    Tulip Apricot Foxx Tulip Apricot Foxx

    Our new 2013-2014 catalogue is now out with over 200 varieties of tulips in every shape, size and colour to tease you. Their are tulip varieties to suit most garden situations from the wild garden, formal garden, cottage garden, small borders or pots. Tulips bring impact or calm to your garden.

    We have some lovely new varieties of tulips in the catalogue this year; we have been asked by customers to include more salmon and apricot varieties, we have therefore included Apricot Emperor, Salmon Prince, Apricot Foxx, Stunning Apricot, Temple of Beauty and the beautiful Orange Angelique

    The stunning Labrador with dark maroon-red flowers and beautiful fringing, the calm and serene Vanilla Cream with purpe/brown striping on the leaves, Red Spring Green and Crème Lizard plus many more. The catalogue is a chocolate box full of surprises take a dip and make some wonderful discoveries. Tulips start from 17p each.

    Peter Nyssen is proud to offer once again tulip Survivor a lovely deep rose-pink single late tulip. 100% of all proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research to help raise funds for research into the treatment of cancer and hopefully in the near future towards a cure.

    A huge thank you to all customers who bought this variety in 2012 with your kind support we donated £1,957.00 to Cancer Research.

    It’s time to sit back in the garden and enjoy the summer; reflect and imagine your garden in spring, the floral fireworks will be stunning…

  • Tulip ideas

    21_T_SylvestrisIt’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

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