Tulips at Chelsea
Our spring shows are now over for another year and I am happy to report that they again culminated with Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show. To everyone who came and said hello a big thank you, it is always a pleasure to meet so many of our customers at these events.
Perhaps the biggest talking point was how poorly many people had done with other suppliers last year. It was disappointing to hear just how many companies persist in selling small undersized immature bulbs masquerading as top quality.
To quote my great grandfather, “on the ground of our many years’ experience in growing bulbs, we take the liberty of pointing out, that it is not possible to send out first quality stuff – or even a good article – at the mock-price at which bulbs are often offered. We hope this hint may protect many flower lovers from disappointment.”
The BBC provided some useful advice this weekend about looking after tulips once they have finished flowering. I would just like to remind you of a few additional pointers.
- the containers should be kept moist until the plant has completely died back, this signals the end of the growing cycle.
- a weekly watering with tomato plant feed is recommended.
- the roots are also providing nutrition for the new bulb growth and care should be taken not to damage them
- the old plant material should be removed when dead and not composted.
- When storing bulbs over the summer it is important that they do have a period of warmth to help ripen the new flower embryo, their native habitat is hot dry summers. Tulips do not like cold damp ground during the summer, do not plant them too deep.
Essentially, unlike many other bulbs, the tulip grows a new flowering bulb every year. Grown in containers or good garden soil you should always get a fair-sized bulb for the following year.
When you lift tulips you will find a new bulb has developed flanking the old flower stem. Its flattened side results from growing against the flower stem as it develops. As a point of interest immature bulbs that fail to flower produce perfectly round bulbs. There will also be smaller offset bulblets that have grown from dormant buds on the basal plate of the mother bulbs and unless you are going to grow these on for several years they can be discarded.
Enjoy your garden