I’ve been busy potting bulbs to sell in spring, a little job I do every year and usually find something for my own garden. I’ve almost finished potting the tulips, and noticed some little species tulips that I fancy; these will add some vibrant colour next to my new stepping stones in the new area that I’ve worked on this year. I’ll plant them on some grit because my soil is still quite heavy despite have dug lots of compost and horticultural grit in it for years.
There was a time when a tulip bulb could cost the price of big house, thank goodness that’s history and now you can buy a potful for the price of a few bricks.
There’s over a hundred different species and a few thousand varieties, so plenty of choice. It’s amazing how different they are from each other, and some have unusual shapes. There’s so many that they’ve been divided into 15 groups of similar flower forms, flowering times and height.
Tulip ‘Queensland’ has really caught my attention; it’s a short stemmed variety with a very full blousy pink flower with fringed petals, not a typical tulip shape.
‘Peppermint Stick’ is a striped tulip of red and white, grows to about 10 inches in height, it would look good in a group in a border and naturalise.
‘Ballerina is a fragrant tulip that has shapely pointed orange petals and grows just under two feet.
Most tulips are short lived and will only be good for a couple of years before needing to be replaced, there are some species tulips that will last longer and naturalise.
Plant them in well-drained soil or else the bulbs will rot, in a sunny position although they will grow in partial shade where the flowers will last a little longer. Like roses its best not to plant new bulbs in the same spot as others have been previously in recent years to avoid disease. If they are not for naturalising dig them up when the leaves fade, clean and store until autumn for planting out again. A simpler way would be to grow them in pots and put them in place as they are ready to flower giving instant splashes of colour where needed.