As well as the big autumn tidy up, work in the garden is also all about getting ready for spring, with polyanthns, double daisies, pansies, violas and wallflower, and, of course, bulbs.
Now that we are into November, this is the month for planting tulips, these, generally, being the last to provide spring colour. There are many different types, such as Single Early, Double Early, Fily – Flowered, Rembrandt, Parrot, Double Late and Darwin – it’s all a matter of personal choice. The Single and Double Early types being shorter and stockier do well in containers, the Darwins being tall are best for bedding.
There’s another group, the species varieties, which are dwarf in habit and excellent for the small border, rockery and containers. The smallest is Persian Pearl in magenta and cream and Little Beauty in reddish-pink opening to reveal a blue centre - both at only 4”/10cm.
A little taller at 6”/15cm is the yellow-flowered Honky Tonk; Albion Star, multi-headed in cream with a hint of peach; and the ever-popular Red Riding Hood with striped leaves and no need to say what colour this one is.
Pinocchio, striped foliage, the heads red with a white edge and Calgary, a pure white, come in at 8”/20cm; and at 10”/25cm is Dream Boat, a lovely shade of peach.
Moving up in height to 12”/30cm comes Cape Cod with striped foliage and two-tone red and yellow heads; Fire of Love, red with foliage edged yellow; and Corona, a yellow but with red outer and inner base.
Tulips in the Rembrandt category have the petals streaked and feathered in a mix of two colours, such as Grand Perfection (14”/36cm) in cream with red markings and Carnival De Nice (18”/45cm) in white with red markings.
By far the most popular tulip is the traditional Darwin. They are tall, stately and striking when planted in large groups. Here we can choose between Holland Beauty in mauve or Finola in pink, both at 18”/45cm; Menton in deep pink, Apeldoorn in red, or the very popular classic Queen of Night in deepest purple, all at 24”/60cm.
All the varieties mentioned are available locally.