The early Spring heat wave this year has really pushed the garden forwards and April has started with many of our tulips in full flower. This puts us at least two weeks ahead of last year and long may the warm weather last! First to flower are the tulips along the long border, which are more advanced because of the heat from the south-facing wall. We planted about 3000 in this large bed and we are really pleased with the result. The flower garden is always a few weeks later to flower, and because of the mix of early mid and late varieties the display should continue deep into May. The effect of 7000 bulbs in this part of the garden can make the grey of winter disappear in a flash. The other important tulip plantings are in the kitchen garden, where they are grown as cut flowers. Every morning our team of florists come up to the garden and cut the stems for their displays so that they can fill the manor with this beautiful flower, in a celebration of the tulip!
Bulbs are one of the most challenging groups of plants to get right in the border, because there is such a long wait between planting them and seeing the results. We work hard through the Autumn and the results the following spring are such a reward. But when the planting is not quite right, or we want to make changes, it can be difficult to remember our thoughts once the following planting season comes. This is why it is so important, while the bulbs are flowering, to take photos and notes for improvements. Colour combinations that don’t quite work, new varieties to try, new spots where different colours could be tried; all this information will be essential come November, when the concept of spring, sun and flowers can seem completely alien.