Tulip Fever – Now that November’s drawing to a close, we at Garden Furniture Towers have a bit more time on our hands. Even the last garden furniture sale is a distant memory. It’s a great time for all of us who love our gardens to do those little jobs that reap such rewards in the spring – jobs like planting your tulips!
Tulip Fever – Still Time
The fact that you have to leave tulip planting until the soil is cool enough to avoid the spread of tulip fever, means that however well intentioned I am, it always gets to this time of year and those bulbs creep up and bite me! Every year I forget about them until it’s almost too late. Good news! There’s still time to plant up some pots and chuck a few into the flower beds.
Tulip Fever – Recipes for Success
I’ve noticed that the longer I’ve been gardening, the more I’ve come to love colours that I would have considered hideously bright in my youth. I can now appreciate the almost clashing shades in some tulips. I no longer go for pure white or groups of pure bright yellow.
In tubs, I like to mix it up a bit in terms of heights and season. A really good combination of colours are a strong red (if I can, I go for Couleur Cardinal), with darkest blacky-purple (Havran or Queen of the Night work well) and a cheerful orange (Princess Irene is a lovely one, with salmon edges). A couple of these brightly coloured displays will really set off your rattan patio furniture to stunning effect.
Tulip Fever – Viridiflora Tulips
In the borders, the best way to have tulips that might naturalize is to go for viridiflora tulips (also known Green Tulips) which flower on strong stems and are known for their long flowering capability. All viridiflora tulips have an element of green in the flower. They can be almost entirely green with a hint of colour on the edge of the petals, or just with green shading. These might look rather gaudy on a flower packet but when they come into flower, and there’s not much else around, they can be a wonderful sight.
For the past few years, I’ve been growing the variety, spring green – white slightly feathered petals are each divided by a bright green stripe. You often see them with dark purple tulips which can look very smart, but here we have them looking lovely in a woodland setting. The variety that I’ve come to love best in my borders is viridflora Artist – these are late flowering tulips, a mix of bright green, apricot, salmon and violet shades. They look absolutely stunning, picking up the new leafy growth around them in a border.
Tulip Fever – Planting Instructions
Tulips should be planted approximately 15–20 cm deep. The deeper you plant them, the more chance they have of coming up a second year. Place them 10-15 cm apart in fertile, well drained soil. If you are planting up a container, you can squash them in a bit more for effect. I also like to pop a layer of muscari bulbs on top of them. These fill the pot with their little green shoots long before the tulips make an appearance, and then the mess of their leaves as they die back, is hidden by the broad leaves of the flowering tulips. After flowering, dead head and feed the plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer until the foliage had died down naturally.