Tulips are among the most
popular spring flowering bulbs. There is a tulips for almost any situation from
small flowered species for sunny rock gardens to tall brightly coloured hybrids
for borders or pots. They flower from late February to May.
Of all the spring flowering bulbs tulips are the
most colourful and versatile . The tall border tulips have been in cultivation
in Europe for 500 years and today there are many hundreds of hybrids
available and the sky, or your imagination is the only limit. With the
exception of true blue every colour imaginable is represented. Many are also
splashed or shaded with another colour, sometimes in a subtle way but in
others there is a stark contrast. Tulips are classified according to their
shape - lily flowered, double, etc. and time of flowering.
These tulips are also suitable for container
displays. There are so many shades it is almost like decorating rather than
gardening - there is one to match every colour scheme or container. Newly
planted tulips will flower almost anywhere in their first year but they need a
dry, warm summer dormancy to ripen the bulbs for the successive seasons. They
also often split into small,non flowering bulbs. Deep planting (8") or
lifting the bulbs after flowering is recommended.
The delicate wild or species tulips may have
smaller flowers but they are still among the best for value as many of them
are reliably perennial in the garden - often spreading to form large
displays. The earliest flowering species - Tulip humils and Tulipa turkestanica -start
in late February whist Tulipa sprengeri is the last tulip to flower in late May.
One of the most useful groups of tulips are the
Kaufmaniana and Greigii hybrids whose large flowered short stemmed flowers
come in a spectacular range of bold colours. They are perfect for container
Bulbs posted in autumn. Full
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are not only excellent in borders it are also a perfect choice
for traditional bedding schemes, mixedwith winter flowering pansies. As the tulips are early flowering
the pansies still look good, rather than past their best as is so often
the case with this combination.