If like me you have spent much of the last three months mooching about the house cooking and watching YouTube videos on growing vegetables you are probably ready for a change of scene. You might even be planning your next holiday and looking for housesitters to help you. As an entrepreneur and homeowner and sometime weekend gardener myself I have rarely had this much time to think about my garden let alone the luxury of time to plant and even plan the next season. I am even keeping a gardening diary for the first time. So far, having planted and indeed harvested a few vegetables and fruit already and I am feeling adventurous.
Now I have moved onto planning my Winter and Spring garden and cannot wait to finally choose the Dutch Tulips I have been ogling for weeks online. Here are some notes and ideas from the source of my inspiration for my Spring tulip garden.
My urban garden
We moved into our home about 23 years ago. At each birthday and anniversary I added a tree and rose bush here and there to adorn the garden. When I was super busy with young children, managing a career with commuting and travel, in the end patio gardening in large pots proved easier to handle. It also brought near guaranteed rewards. So the hard surfaces in our garden have always been well stocked in terracotta and stoneware pots.
A lifetime it seems has passed since the Covid Lockdown gave me time to confront the winding patch of lawn beyond the patio, that circles our house. The green area of the garden is strewn with haphazard flower beds that we had largely left to green sculpted bushes and some strategically placed perennials.
I decided the garden was a project I could take on for a few weeks and it might rekindle the passion for gardening that I once had. Over the years I have been too busy travelling for work, launching a web business and raising children to care much for our home turf. This was at last a free pass for me to excavate bulb and seed catalogues stashed away in a kitchen drawer and unearth my flower pots from the back of the shed. Presto – we had a garden project!
An English Summer garden
We love to encourage wild strawberries to grow along the stone tiled edges of our flower beds. Once seeded it’s amazing where you discover wild strawberries, It’s a great way to brighten up this grey stone edge in our garden. Red and yellow tulips would be wonderful just here I thought in the Winter and Spring.
A quick search online led me to a Dutch Grown tulip site that offered a beautiful range with a glorious flame colour at the base of the cup in the red and yellow range. I made a note in my diary to place an order for delivery in September.
A raised vegetable bed
One of the proudest achievements in the garden so far is that we built a raised vegetable bed and filled it with seedlings that are actually flourishing. Now in June we are already eating cooking with our own produce, and it is so exciting. We have varieties of beans, courgettes, fennel, rainbow chard, spinach and tomatoes all grown from seed packets!
Some of the vegetables will continue through the Winter. However, when most of the Summer and Autumn vegetables have been harvested we are planning to use the raised bed for a selection of tulips just for cut flowers to use at home.
Planning a kaleidoscope of tulips
The choice at Dutch Grown is stunning, kaleidoscopic one might say. Originally I was planning to buy a simple range of two to four colours to create a theme that follows you as you walk in the garden. I rather like bold vibrant colours and was planning on buying bulbs in orange, red and yellow.
Then I typed in a few other colours in the search bar. And oh my goodness. look what I found! Purple and black and even parrot coloured variegated tulips. I had never seen such a selection. I had to have them all. Without a doubt they would brighten up our garden after the dark wet days of Winter and Spring.
Tulips for cut flowers in Winter and the Spring
There is nothing like the bright splash of colour that flowers provide in a Winter home. Tulips have the advantage of coming to fruition early in Spring. But to be able to grow them at home and simply cut when you want seems like a fabulous idea. So for the first time that is what I am going to do. Turnover my vegetable bed to a whole selection of tulip bulbs of every colour that I can buy in September.
I also love the idea of a tulip lasagne. This is where you plant large pots with layers of Spring bulbs allowing you to layer the colour and variety in the display. By September I am planning to turnover a few of our large plant pots to create an early season outdoor display. Doubtless some of those flowers will end up in the house also.
Putting the tallest bulbs at the bottom of the pot, and the shortest varieties at the top I can look forward to a full and colourful display. Winters and wet Springs need never be dull again. By planting tulips around the garden I extend the use of our newly cultivated vegetable and flower beds. There can always be colour in the garden and in the house.