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Harbingers of Spring

As the nights draw in and we start to put the garden to bed for the winter months, now is the time to be thinking about spring bulbs. Crocus, snowdrops and tulips are all harbingers of spring for me and provide a welcome spot of colour before the herbaceous borders truly start to burst into life. At our recent lecture on 'Making the Most of Your Garden', our speaker Benjamin Pope talked about jobs to do now. These included ordering bulbs for spring, especially tulips, ordering seeds for summer planting and dividing plants.

The photo opposite is of the spring tulip display in the borders of the private garden where Ben works.

It highlights beautifully the effect achieved by mass planting tulips in a herbaceous border.

He shared with us some of his favourite tulips and these included (in no particular order):

Tulip Charming Lady (soft orange, double late)

Tulip Black Hero (double version of 'Queen of the Night')

Tulip Ballerina (bright orange, lily flowered)

Tulip Cairo (deep burnt orange, single early)

Tulip Exotic Emperor (white, double early)

Tulip Spring Green (green and ivory, Viridiflora)

There are loads of places to order tulips and other bulbs from my favourite online suppliers tend to be J Parkers, Sarah Raven, Crocus and Peter Nyssen due to their range and quality. Don't forget tulips are best planted between October and November before the first hard frost hits. At this time of the year, the soil should be nice and moist, which will make the job of planting the bulbs easier. The cooler temperatures will also help destroy most fungal and viral diseases that may be hiding in the soil which may infect the tulip bulbs. Bulbs should be planted 3 times the depth of the bulb and 3 to 5 inches (8-12cm) apart to prevent rotting.

Happy shopping!

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