Tulips

Tulips are such a good spring flower. There are so many forms and coloursĀ  and the different varieties means the flowering season is very long indeed.

This year the tulips will look particularly good. Many bulbs which do not often flower will do so this year. This is because tulip bulbs need to be frozen in order to force them to flower. Because the winter has been so cold and prolonged, the soil has frozen deeper than usual and any tulip bulbs which have been planted a little too deep have still been frozen, thus you will see more flowers than usual.

Tulips require a sunny position in a well drained soil. They like a summer baking. However, if your soil is cool and wet, you can lift them when the leaves have died back and replant in autumn.

My personnal favourire are the Kaufmanniana hybrids. These have mottled or striped leaves making them attractive even before and after they flower. They have single flowers which are usually bi-coloured (although not always- I have some which are bright red) and which open out flat in the bright sunlight. They flower in early spring. Another bonus!

Apart from these and, of course, the single early which are the traditional shaped tulips every child draws as flowers, there are 15 other horticulturally different groups of tulips. On top of that, there are many hybrids which add different colours and shapes to the mix. Add to that, there are now a range of heights, what more could you ask of a group of flowers.

Generally speaking, the names of the groups of tulips are descriptive of the way they look. Single early; single late (they flower late spring to early summer) Double early and double late are self explanitary.Others need a bit more investigation: Rembrandt comprises mainly of very old cultivars similar to lily flowered tulips butĀ  their flower colours are often broken into stripes or feathered patterns – they look like they have had paint splashed on them – thus the name.

The Darwin hybrids are now very poppular. They have large, single flowers or variable shape on strong stems. They stand up well even in bad weather and always make me think of soldiers. I presume they arre called Darwin because they are the strongest.

Everyone knows of the parrot tulips – the flowers are fringed and usually twisted; Fringed tulips are similar although they are narroiw waisted.

This is just a summary of some of the tulips. If you are looking for colour in your garden for the spring, you could not do better. Take a look at what is on offer!

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