Do you know your garden tulip from your species tulip? Or why prepared hyacinths flower earlier than ordinary hyacinths?
If you’d like to know a little more about the amazing bulbs you plant this autumn that give you such gorgeous flowers next spring, read on……
What is a bulb?
Bulbs are nature’s own DIY plant kits, containing everything it needs to grow into a plant – all you really have to do is let it have some water.
If you were able to microscopically examine a bulb, you would see all the leaves, flowers and food within the bulb, all ready to grow when the time is right.
Unlike other plants that produce leaves and roots that provide their food as they grow, the bulb has the food all ready stored within the bulb. And then, once it has flowered, the leaves of the bulb produce food to replenish its food store again – that’s why it’s so important to let the leaves remain on the bulb for a while after flowering.
There are 2 main categories of autumn planting hyacinths; Prepared and Garden.
are temperature treated to mimic winter conditions and ‘trick’ the bulb into ‘thinking’ that winter has passed and that it’s time to flower. Consequently these hyacinths flower in December and January and with their gorgeous scent, they are a wonderful gift – for you or to grow and give to a friend. For more information on growing prepared hyacinths.
have not been temperature treated and will flower outdoors around March or April, depending on the winter temperatures. These are ideal early season flowering bulbs not only because their flowers are so stunningly attractive, but at around 6-8″ tall, they will be relatively sheltered from the winter winds! They are ideal for incorporating into a spring-flowering planter that gives continuous colour over several weeks, and if you’d like to know more about how to do that, please click here
Think of a tulip, and you can find one in almost any colour, size or shape that you can imagine – and probably plenty more that you can’t! To give you an idea of what shapes and sizes there are, click here to see some of the most popular categories
Tulips are particularly popular in East Lothian and the hard-working volunteers who keep North Berwick in Bloom love them so much that they even have a tulip festival in the town each year!
To see our selection of tulips, please click here. We hope you’ll love them as much as we do!
Double tulips have considerably more petals and can often slightly resemble a peonia flower head. If you’ve never grown them before, we’d thoroughly recommend that you give them a try – they are truly stunning!
The flower heads often combine two or more colours, and double tulips in general tend to be slightly shorter than garden tulips. They flower in April or May, and there are also a number of fragrant double tulip varieties available.
To see the wonderful range of varieties we offer, please click here
One of our best-selling ranges, these dwarf varieties are so useful for providing colour, particularly in spring pots and containers.
Ranging in size from approximately 6″ to 12″, these generally flower from March through to May, depending on variety.
With a wide range of colour and foliage, their interesting characteristics make them an increasingly popular addition to the garden including rockeries.
Possibly the best-known category of tulips, the garden tulip has the well-loved goblet-shaped flowering head, with rounded or slightly pointed petals.
Mostly garden tulips are available in single colours or a combination of two colours, and reach between 1′ and 2′ high. In Scotland, we often have strong winds in spring, so it’s a good idea to choose a sheltered spot if you have the taller varieties.
April or May flowering
As the name suggests, the petals have fringed edges giving a very appealing appearance. Generally about 18″ high, there is also a dwarf variety that is some 8″ high. Flowering in April to May, these tulips offer a real point of interest in the border or in pots.
To see our range, please click here
A most unusual flower head combining characteristics of the double and fringed tulips, in both single and combination colours. Ranging in height from 1′ to almost 3′ these showy tulips are ideal centre-pieces which flower in May.
To see parrot tulips, click here
When we think about spring flowering bulbs, crocus is possibly the first bulb that springs to mind – and for good reason, because it’s often the first sign that spring is on it’s way! Over the centuries crocus has been much prized for their valuable spice crop of saffron, and are still grown for that purpose in certain parts of the world.
There are two main categories of spring-flowering crocus – the large-flowered varieties that we all know and love, and the species crocus that have their own individual characteristics and we’ve found that they’ve become increasingly popular over the last few years.
Sometimes known as Dutch crocus, and hard to beat for spring colour, these continue to be some of the best-loved spring flowering bulbs. Ideal for planting under trees, in borders or amongst the grass.
If you’re hoping to achieve a natural look, scatter the crocus and plant them where they fall. As a rule of thumb, the planting hole should be approximately three times the depth of the bulb. Bulb planters can be useful for planting into turf, as you can replace the turf exactly back into position.
Usually available in yellow, white, blue, purple and striped, the large-flowered crocus grow to approximately 4″ (10cm) and will flower around March, depending on winter conditions.
Click here to see our range of large-flowered crocus.
These crocus offer a more diverse range of flower heads, are generally slightly smaller than the large-flowered crocus and readily naturalize (reproduce themselves) year after year.
Click here to see our range of species crocus.