Yesterday this email was again going to lament the weather. What a difference a day makes, blue skies, bright sunshine and raised spirits. Despite being so wet it is certainly cold enough to start planting the rest of our bulbs. The planting of the Chelsea Flower Show tulips was planned for this week although the ground desperately needs a few dry days. Thankfully all our ground preparation was completed a few weeks ago, we are now just waiting on drier weather. However, the local forecast changes from day to day rendering any sensible plans moot. Let us hope that everything goes ahead for next year and we can all look forward to the shows next May.
Tulips do need a cool soil temperature to initiate root growth, they do not do well in warmer climates where pre-chilling is essential for any chance of success. Trials would suggest that this is at 12C and below. These cooler temperatures also inhibit any pests and diseases that may be present in the ground. They do not work for squirrels, but chili powder does. The soil must be friable, wet clumpy soil works against good root growth.
In a better autumn, the first light ground frost often marks the date for the start of tulip planting. Given milder winters the bulbs can be planted right up until Christmas. If bulbs are not planted on time, they can be planted until the soil is frozen solid. Root growth for most spring bulbs is nearly zero at 0-1C but will resume once the soil starts to thaw.
This week I am working on my stock, making sure I keep enough bulbs back for the orders still to come in over the rest of October and through November. The last of the bulbs from my cousin in Holland will be arriving over the course of the next two weeks, everything is then secured for this year. If you find you need a few more bulbs to take advantage of our membership scheme to avoid any postage costs. Remember any order this year automatically rolls over existing membership free of charge for 2021.
Enjoy your garden,