Back in September when I was ordering tulip bulbs, I thought I’d been a bit extravagant. But now I wish I’d doubled or tripled our budget.

lilac wonder tulip, cottage garden, gardening blog

‘lilac wonder’ looks gorgeous from every angle

We plant most of our tulips in pots. It means we can plonk them here and there around the garden wherever it needs brightening up, and put them out of the way when they start dying back.

A lesson I learnt last year was to plant bulbs in layers, cramming as many as possible into a single pot. It gives a more impressive display, and doesn’t do them any harm as long as they aren’t touching each other.

synaeda king, cottage garden, gardening blog

I put three pots of ‘synaeda king’ around the base of the pear tree. Six or seven pots would have looked better

The only problem with the cramming technique is that I ended up with just two or three pots of each colour. Next year I’m going to plant more bulbs overall, but use fewer varieties so they make more impact.

honky tonk tulip, cottage garden, gardening blog

‘honky tonk’ are lovely and unassuming – I think they’d look better planted en masse

Ranging from the purest, simplest flowers to sumptuous peony-like blooms, tulips perfectly bridge the gap from spring to summer.

tulip groenland, gardening blog, cottage garden

I think these are ‘groenland’…the writing washed off the label*

There’s definitely room for more in my garden.

brandy snap mix, cottage garden, gardening blog

I’ve pictured some of my favourite tulips here – most of them came from Kelways.


* 25 April, update: looking back through my bulb orders, I realise these must be Belle Epoque. I planted them in December after picking them up cheap in  the Sarah Raven end of season sale. They’ve turned out to be my absolute favourites and will be at the top of my list for this year’s bulb order – I won’t want to chance waiting until the sales. But it begs the question – what happened to my groenland tulips? I should have ten of them kicking around somewhere…maybe they were pilfered by the squirrels.  


28 thoughts on “tulips

    • I agree! I only planted 12-15 per pot this year, but I will cram more in next year. I’ve been enjoying the tulips on your blog too, while feeling quietly envious 🙂

    • They make a lovely cut flower don’t they. I haven’t cut that many from the garden this year, but the ones I did bring in lasted really well.

  1. I like tulips and find they look stunning till the rain or wind gets to them. Strangely my poundland bulbs look more impressive this year than some of the ones I paid a lot more for!

    • You must give tulips a try – they are so easy, just stick them in a pot and leave them to it. You don’t even need to worry too much about watering them if they’re outside

  2. Tulips are amazing, I love all the different colours and I have a real love for this flower, especially after living in Holland for a year – so beautiful, one of my favourites 🙂

    Laura x

  3. Such a lovely idea, and they look so beautiful! I love tulips, they’re one of my favourite flowers. I’m taking tips for autumn and planting bulbs in our new garden (will probably need to ask for advice!) x

    • Thank you – the ones in that photo are Sarah Raven’s brandy snap mix (interrupted by a few rogue bluebells). I picked up a few bargains in her end of season sale. They went in late, but it doesn’t seem to have done them any harm.

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