Posted on: April 20th, 2017 by admin
One of our designers, Katie Thomas, was inspired by a visit to one of the most stunning spring gardens in the world – Keukenhof in Holland. Not only do these unique gardens provide incredible “eye-candy”, they can also provide ideas for our own spring planting. Keukenhof Park extending over 32 hectares of land is planted with more than 7 million bulbs with a total of 800 varieties of tulips. One of the most popular bulbs, the tulip is a bulbous perennial of the lily family with large showy flowers with 6 petals and comes in an extensive array of colours.
Although it is unknown who first brought the tulip to Northwestern Europe, Carolus Clusius, a Flemish doctor and botanist, planted tulips in the Imperial medical garden in Vienna as early as 1573. He was appointed prefect of the imperial medical garden by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilliam II and later, as a professor at the University of Leiden, Clusius planted the first tulips in the botanical gardens in the Netherlands in October 1593. Regarded as largely responsible for the spread of tulip bulbs in the final years of the sixteenth century, Clusius finished his first major work on tulips in 1592, and made note of the variations in colour. Between 1634 and 1637, these beautiful bulbs sparked a frenzy now known as the tulip mania. Tulip bulbs became so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency, or rather, as futures. Many Dutch still-life paintings include the ceramic tulipiere that was devised for the display of cut flowers, stem by stem.
In our own gardens, spring bulbs can be used to create striking borders with single blocks of colour, a more naturalistic display using a combination of colours and bulbs or a bold focal feature such as a river of grape hyacinths. The shape of the border can be just as important as the colour contained within. Sweeping curves or more formal lines are equally effective in showing off the myriad combinations of bulbs available. Combining these plantings with water features to reflect the vivid colours, creates a magical spring display – even on a rainy day.
Tulips are well suited to container gardening and some varieties can be naturalised in grass. They grow best in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun, sheltered from strong winds. Plant new bulbs from mid- to late autumn for a beautiful display from March to May.
Plenty of time then, to enjoy pouring over tulip bulb catalogues and to decide on the variety that is just right for your garden… from the deep purple Black Diamond to the fragrant pure white Purissima….. Perhaps interspersed with sunny daffodils, English Bluebells or delicate white and pale blue Puschkinia, known as Russian snowdrops.
You’ll be spoilt for choice.