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As we head into the Spring months it is good to realise that we have the beauty of the spring bulbs to look forward to. Many of the supermarkets and florists have potted bulbs on sale already which are fairly inexpensive. Tulips have to be a favourite with many, there are so many varieties which offer a wonderfully attractive display of colour. Last year I planted some dwarf tulips in pots and although I had a good colourful show I have chosen to revert back to filling my tubs with the normal bulbs which provide stems at around 15 inches high.
A few days ago I was walking around Lidl`s discount store and came across large bunches of healthy looking single tulips which were marked at £2.92 a bunch, considering these had been grown abroad and had been picked bunched and wrapped before importing they were such a bargain. Tulips grace any vase, they create an elegant display. If the blooms are kept in a reasonably cool room you will get at least four or five day of flowering before the bloom starts to wilt and the stem starts to bend over. Tulips are seen as the most popular Spring flower and many brides choose to use them in their wedding bouquets. The tulip has fifteen different categories, each category has many different types of flower. There is such a vast range of colours on offer, from the more subtle paler colours to the noisy and vibrant hues.
I enjoy to see pots of colour arrive start to bloom in Spring, my first choice would be to pot up some `fringed tulips`. Such a pretty bloom that tends to flower towards the latter part of Spring. If you want to buy Fringed tulip bulbs you may well have to turn to the Internet to source them, many Garden centres will only stock two or three varieties. When the summer bedding plants have well and truly bit the dust then it is time to empty out the tubs and start to plan for the next showing. It can be satisfying and exciting to fill tubs with mixed tulip bulbs and wait for the outcome. You will need to use a good quality multi-purpose compost or bulb fibre if you prefer. Go off the the local garden centre and pick your bulbs, don't be tempted to stint, tulip pots look their best when they have been well filled. Before you fill your pots with compost put them into a sheltered position, maybe beside a wall or a fence or by the side of the garden shed. Always choose pots that have plenty of drain holes, or make a few more in the bottom of the pot yourself. Add some pieces of broken pot to the bottom of the tub and then add the compost until you have about six inches to spare from the top, place the bulbs on the top of the compost. I make sure the bulbs don't touch each other but I do put a lot of bulbs into each pot to create a good display. When you have arranged the bulbs then cover them with compost and then let nature take over, only giving them a drop of water as the start to shoot to encourage good long stem growth, tulips bulbs are prone to dry out and this will thwart thier attempt to grow. Tulip bulbs can be planted as late as Christmas and still give you a good show for the Spring. I always think that when they start to bloom they stand proudly in their pots and announce that Spring has come.
Any bulbs that I take out of the tubs automatically get planted into the garden afterwards where they seem to flourish and provide another display the following year, though I will admit the blooms always seem weaker in the second and subsequent years.
I am sure that we all associate tulips with the Netherlands when in fact they hail from Western and Central Europe and Turkey. When your tulips have finished blooming, either in the pots or in the garden just wait until the leaves have died off before you attempt to tidy them up, it encourages better growth the next time around. Always remember the slug is a major enemy to the tulip, so keep an eye out for those nibbling nuisances!