By William Mills
Tulips are one of the joys of spring with their tall slender green stems and beautifully coloured flowers. A true joy to behold whether bought from a florist or grown outside in the garden.
Originally native to the Mediterranean region, cultivation is thought to have started in 10th century Persia where poets describe dream like gardens of ‘cool running streams, fragrant roses and bright tulips.’
Modern Turkey still highly regards the tulip, and Turkish Airlines use it as an emblem on their aircraft.
These days commercial growing of tulips is widespread, particularly in the Netherlands, and here in England there are many varieties to chose from. Tulips, both the annual and perennial varieties, are bulbs which can be grown either in patio containers or garden beds, are best planted in the late autumn leaving plenty of space in between each one as they can be tricky to grow and achieve flowering.
For a patio chose a container as deep as possible and use fresh, plump bulbs planting them in a fertilised soil enriched with a high potassium content.
As winter slips away and summer approaches it is easy to forget that frost damage can ruin outside plants unless care is taken to protect them during periods of freezing weather.
The fresh shoots appearing in the spring need to be regularly inspected for signs of pests and it is a good idea to put down slug pellets in plenty of time to prevent damage.
Of course, if buying from a florist we can take advantage of the multitude of different colours available to commercial growers to create our own wonderful display.