One of the new tulips I planted this year is (supposedly) The Lizard. It’s a gorgeous Rembrandt tulip that has red flame patterns on a paler background, but now appears to be Crème Lizard – interesting but not what I was expecting. Until I identified it I kept looking at it hoping that chameleon-like it would change colour. Now I know this isn’t going to happen.
Last spring I saw some tulips underplanted with parsley – I can’t remember where – but I thought it looked rather wonderful, so I’m giving it a go. I suspect I should have got the parsley in earlier so that it could get well ahead of the tulips, but if I’m lucky it won’t be completely overwhelmed and achieve the desired effect. If it works there will be photos.
No sooner had I planted the pots of tulips than along came the squirrels to dig them up – fortunately they had only got round to plundering one of the pots, so I immediately protected the rest with wire netting and very prickly holly twigs. They got the message.
West Green House at Hartley Wintney in Hampshire is a hugely entertaining garden that is always evolving as its chatelaine Marilyn Abbott tries out new ideas and colour schemes. The gardens re-opened on Easter Saturday and can be visited on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-3pm. As well as 6000 tulips promising a riot of colour, this year there is a new area ‘Inspiration for a Potager’ with plants, seeds and artefacts to make your garden special. Oh, and the indefatigable Marilyn also has a programme of operas in the garden. www.westgreenhouse.co.uk
This rather bare patch of ground represents a day's work. I've removed most of the autumn leaves and uprooted the over enthusiastic wild strawberries
I could stand it no longer! Everything in the garden looked SUCH A MESS that I decided I had to make a start on some tidying and take the risk of more cold weather. I began with the woodland area beneath the tulip tree where the matted mass of leaves was concealing cyclamen, snowdrops, lots of self-sown tulipa sylvestris (hooray!) and hellebores. It was an area that had been overrun with wild strawberries that were threatening to choke out everything else, so they have been severely reduced and I’m sure the whole area will look much better for this, especially when I have added a mulch of bark in a couple of weeks.
Tidying up revealed large clusters of Tulipa sylvestris leaves - flowers will follow later this month