Archive | Tulips

Tulip Time

I have mixed feelings about tulips, On the one hand they are essential to the spring palette and their range of shapes and colours offers such versatility to March and April bouquets. A quick peruse of a Parkers or Bloms bulb catalogue offers such an overwhelming choice that you will never be able to consider buying the rather small headed, boring tulip bunches in the shops again.

On the other hand, tulip time can be an anxious few weeks for the flower grower. I grow a lot of them in the polytunnel for an earlier 'forced' crop. Grown under cover also encourages much longer stems. However, it is always a gamble. If we have a cool wet spring than the tulips are sheltered from the rain and are ready in the correct early, mid and late order. If we get a hot spell, like a couple of weeks ago than they tend to all come at once. This is often difficult from a sales point of view but I have been fortunate this year with lots of early weddings.



I treat my tulips like annuals, they are planted densely and shallowly so that they can just be tugged out of the ground and the bulb snipped off. This rather dramatic act always makes my customers squeal! If I do not harvest the flowers than the bulb is lifted and dried for replanting the following autumn. We put them in the field using the potato planter on the tractor, along with scented narcissi and dutch iris.

Some of my favourite varieties for cutting include the viridaflora type like Spring Green, Greenland and Dolls Minuet.



I love all the voluptuous peony tulips we have used a lot of Montreaux in bridal bouquets this year. For a contrasting shape the lily-flowered China Pink is a wonderfully tall elegant tulip for large vases. 



I enjoy tulips arranged with a bit of blossom from the orchard. I always tend to put them in the vase slightly short because I know they will carry on growing and look just right after a couple of days.





Three weddings and a course

 What a busy week, with three weddings to start the season off, all with different colour schemes thank goodness. It has been an anxious time with the heat pushing everything on so quickly, but everyone seemed more than happy with their various combinations of ranunculus, tulips, anemones, honesty, apple blossom, muscari, narcissi, sorbus and euphorbia.

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The narcissi we planted in the field have been so useful this week, I used a different variety for each wedding; Avalanche for the yellow theme, Thalia for the white and Silver Chimes for the pinks/creams. It is amazing what you can do with a tractor and a potato planter; I think the tulips will get the same treatment this autumn. The ranunculus are peaking with some heads the size of peonies, they are one of the only flowers I find hard to pick! But pick I did, a couple of hundred for our first arranging course today, there will be more info about that from Jo in the next blog.

Now I am just praying for a grey, rainy day to slow things down and water in all those perennials I divided back in March , plus the annuals we are planting out now…. I do sound like a grumpy farmer.

Other exciting news:  the mail order boxes have arrived, finishing touches are being made to the shopping page and I hope to be taking orders for gorgeous ranunculus bouquets like this very shortly.


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Blink and you will miss them


Phew, it feels like summer out there already and my tulips have all come up at once in the oven-like polytunnel. Early, mid and late season are all coloured up and popping. I love tulips and I think the varieties we offer are far more interesting than florist fare, but they do make me rather anxious. They are ready when they are ready and will not wait around for a farmers market at the weekend. Thankfully I used a good amount for Mother's Day last week.


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Where I have not been able to keep up with them, I will deadhead, lift and dry in the barn to replant in the Autumn.

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Rachel Siegfried