Tulip bulb planting
One of the most exciting jobs at the end of the autumn is our bulb planting, and in particular the tulips in the flower garden. Each year we plant between six to seven thousand bulbs through the flowerbeds. This burst of colour in the spring is the perfect antidote to a grey English winter, and always delights our guests. In fact, visitors are so enthused by our tulips that one of the most commonly asked question is “when are the tulips going to be ready?”
Last spring was possibly one of the most satisfying displays of tulips we have ever put together, although rather sad as we had to shut due to the pandemic and so we couldn’t share the experience with our guests. Many of our tulips were taken to the local hospital and given to the staff, to thank their heroic efforts. This was one of the most rewarding things we have done with our plants but was still frustrating that we couldn’t share our display in the garden. For this reason, we are planting a very similar display to last year, with just a few tweaks.
The first tulips should start in late March or early April with Candy Prince (a lilac blue) and Salmon Prince. A few weeks later the triumph tulips flower, which will predominantly be purple and lilac, with Atilla and Arabian mystery, plus spots of red, orange and mahogany, supplied by National Velvet, Jan Reus and Hermitage. The later tulips flower all the way through to the end of May, although this varies depending on what spring weather we get. These varieties will be the apricot coloured Dordogne, and Blue Aimable. James Last is a new tulip we are trying which is said to be one of the latest hybrids to flower. This one has been planted in a shady spot, to see how late it will flower for us, hopefully extending the tulip display from the end of March until almost the start of June. As the nights are drawing in, the thought of this spring display always makes winter seem a bit shorter.
Photography by Claire Takacs