Thursday 1 September 2011

Time to buy tulips

Tulips amid Brunnera at Inwood Garden in Spring

For Liz, me in an actual skirt beside Lathyrus vernus at Inwood Garden

Yes, it's the time of year when many of us are excitedly thinking about Spring, even though Autumn hasn't kicked in. It's bulb t buying time. For most Spring bulbs we can buy and plant now, but with Tulips they prefer it if we wait until October at the earliest before popping them in , so there is time to ponder what will work. The examples above are from Inwood Garden, just South of Edinburgh in April this year.

I've never seen quite such an amazing display of Tulips in a garden, there were 1000's, some grouped in pots near the entrance, others planted in borders. Many were very artfully coordinated with the trees and shrubs that were coming into leaf which doubled their beauty. I was actually a bit speechless, which is very unusual. Unfortunately the sun was so bright most of my photo's were hard to make out. The ones above were in teh shade but all the others were in full sun.

Tulips toned perfectly with Hosta at Inwood Garden.

Tulips in the borders at Inwood Garden

It was during that amazing 2 weeks of hot, dry gloriously sunny April weather, before the month of gales, when we joked that maybe that was going to be Summer over. Turns out it was fairly true. I'm glad I made myself go out that day and enjoy other people's gardens (also went to Shepherd house, another gorgeous local garden). My own display was much more humble, but brought us equal joy and over a surprisingly long period, eben through all the bad weather. It was pure luck that the Tulips matched the Honesty so well.

Tulip Atilla (purple) and Shirley (cream, but develops purple edges over time)

The Honesty flowered until July, it just kept getting bushier and taller.

Lovely with the Honesty & Tulips was Wallflower 'Bowles Mauve', still flowering now!

I found a rough guide to which tulips showing which varieties flower when, at what height and rating their ability to naturalize. See the original information here. Here's a mini version:


early Mar-April

8-14" (20-35cm)



mid Mar-April

8-10" (20-25cm)




6-10" (15-25cm)



some in March

8 - 14" (20-35cm)


Single Early

late Mar-Early Apr

10-18" (25-46cm)


Double Early

early-mid April

12" (30cm)



mid Apr-Early May

20" (30cm)

Above Average

Darwin Hybrid

mid April - May

18-24" (46-60cm)


Single Late

late April - May

18-30" (46-75cm)

Above Average

Parrot Tulips


20-26" (50-65cm)




18-30" (46-75cm)


Double Late

late May

18-24" (45-60cm)



mostly May

18-30" (46-75cm) usually



Depends on variety

Depends on variety



Susan Schwake said...

cally! tulips! you in a dress with fabulous blue shoes! iwanthtose.... i never do tulips because of the pesky squirrels we have here, but maybe i will try again now after this beautiful post.
so glad you are back in the blogsphere... enjoy seeing you come around mine too.

Cally said...

Mice and squirrels have been problems for me too, but got away with it this year. A tip is to do them in pots and cover with wire mesh over winter so they can't get in.

lisa solomon said...

oh tulips how i love thee.
i only planted them once. after a trip to amsterdam and i brought a bunch home. they are SO easy. i just don't do it... at least i can live vicariously thru you here :)

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