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Head-start with Lark

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I don’t know about you. but Tulips are one of the most joyous and uplifting blooms of spring. Not only that, but they are incredibly easy to grow!

Tulips were originally a fashionable and curious bloom for the rich and were the ultimate symbol of wealth. For those who could not afford to buy tulips, attention would be drawn to art, tapestries and pottery which featured these sought-after blooms. Single tulip bulbs were often sold for the same price as a house in Amsterdam during the time. This period was known as Tulipomania (1636-1637).

In 2002, after incredibly buoyant sales of Edward Wilson’s Pensham Penstemon, Yvonne and Harriet were able to buy a nursery and offices at Manor Farm in Pensham, between the historic town of Pershore and the renowned RHS Pershore Horticultural college. Yvonne and Harriet were in awe with the enormity of space they had acquired. In reality, the office was rather small although in comparison to a kitchen table was quite mammoth!

There are so many glorious varieties of Tulips to choose from in enough colours, shapes and sizes that you are certain to find the exact type to suit your garden. Whether planted in clusters, swathes or used as cut flowers in a vase, Tulips will never fail impress.

Plan

Aspect: Tulips are a remarkably versatile bloom and will grow in sun, part shade and even full shade, making it easy when trying to fill in pesky gaps in the garden.

Soil: Tulips will need to be planted in good quality soil – you may wish to amend your existing soil with a generous amount of compost to improve drainage and growth quality.

Where to plant Tulips?

Entryways: What could be more spectacular than a row of gorgeous tulips planted in colourful swaths along a pathway to you home? I can just imagine the splendour.

Borders: Tulips will fill your gardens with a stunning scene of colour long before most other plants have emerged from their winter slumber.

Cut Flower Gardens: Arranging bouquets of cut flowers for the home is so rewarding, and even better when shared with family and friends. Planting tulips in a cutting garden make it easy to bring the freshness of spring indoors.

Containers: During the autumn, you can replace any annuals with tulip bulbs. Double early tulips are especially good for containers. The bulbs will sleep through the winter months and deliver a burst of spring colour long before you're ready to begin planting.

How to plant Tulips

Tulip bulbs should be planted on fertile, well-draining soil in full sun during September. Plant the bulbs at least twice the depth of their height, if not more. For a really dense display plant them 5-10cm (2-4) apart. For a free-flowing display, plant bulbs 12cm (5) apart. Planting tulips side by side in a single row looks stiff and unnatural. For best results, plant informal groups of 7 or more bulbs. Rectangular, triangular or oval patterns will make the planting look as full as possible and ensure the flowers are visible from all angles. For a vibrant, long-lasting spring garden, pair tulips with other spring-blooming bulbs such as hyacinths, daffodils and scilla.

Avoid wet and acidic soil conditions, growing them in pots if you can. For containers grown bulbs, make sure that there is some compost below the base of the bulb to enrich the planting area.

Caring for Tulips

Tulips need little care after planting. Once the flowering period is over you should deadhead them. They will only need watering during prolonged periods of drought. After flowering, allow the foliage to die back naturally to enrich the bulb.

Depending on the type and growing conditions of your Tulips will depend on whether they grow back the following year. However, if the bulbs do produce a second year of flowers, do not be disheartened if they are smaller and fewer in number. The best way to guarantee an impressive display of tulips every spring is to plant fresh bulbs each autumn.

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