Talking Tulips5th August 2016 • Stephanie's Blog • Stephanie Donaldson
Yes, I know we’ve barely had a summer and it is a bit depressing to be talking about spring bulbs so soon, but August is a good time to buy if you want the maximum choice. On the other hand, if you are prepared to wait there are great deals to be had in November and December. I tend to do a bit of both – get my anchor colours early – and then add some extras later.
I’m also trying to grow more varieties that will reliably perennialise. Great Dixter is very good at this and when I visited recently, Fergus showed us their tulip store where they keep the tulips once they have been dug up from the borders. They are then cleaned and those of a good size are replanted in the autumn. The advantage is that when these tulips are mixed in with the new bulbs you get flowers of different sizes and height which looks more natural than when every tulip is of a similar height.
I will put my new purchases in pots and add last spring’s saved bulbs to the borders where I’m now getting reliable reappearances – especially with the viridiflora tulips, the fragrant orange Ballerina tulips go into the woodland area where they look wonderful among the spring flowers. If I’ve got space I will also dig a trench in the vegetable garden and plant any leftovers in it so that I’ve got some for cutting too.