Gardening: Set your garden ablaze with colourBy Linda Fort
October 14, 2011
Tulpis come from mountainous regions of Turkey and thrive on cold winters and hot summers.
Now is a good time to buy tulip bulbs, but it is still a little bit early to plant them.
This warm spell is not really good for them because they can get a disease called tulip fire.
Planting after the first frost when the soil is cold will help to avoid this.
The bulbs should be planted to a depth two or three times the tulip bulb’s height.
Species tulips naturalise well and so do Darwin hybrids, but with other varieties reflowering after their first season can be a bit hit and miss.
In their first season they provide a stunning show – exotic, colourful and stately.
Their arrival in late spring also provides a progression of colour after the daffodils and crocuses are over.
I generally plant tulips in containers at the outset, then replant them in the garden after the leaves have died down after flowering.
When the flowers are over they should be deadheaded.
I try to find a sunny position to replant the bulbs and they like a well drained soil. For a long time I had a passion for very dark purple and claret tulips, but although they look frightfully smart in a flower pot, the dark colour can get a bit lost in the border unless set against a lightish background.
There should be no shortage of colour in the garden at this time of year as the deciduous trees and shrubs turn to red and gold.
If you garden lacks autumn excitement, now is a good time to pop into garden centres to see the shrubs as they turn.
The quality of the autumn colour depends on the summer sunshine, so this year might not be a great year.
My Amelanchier canadensis is beginning to turn and the colours are disappointingly dim this year.
There are acers and other autumn performers still to come, but I may have to rely on hips and berries and late flowers this year to keep the colour going until winter.
The wind has been whipping the leaves off the trees this week and raking will soon become my weekend pastime.