Tulip bulbs – Never too late for Tulips!

Some garden centres will try and sell you tulip bulbs in August, because they soon want to make space for the (too early) sales of Christmas decorations. That’s way too early for tulips though! You should reserve your bulbs by mail order, to ensure later delivery, to coincide with the best time for planting tulip bulbs, October-November.

Planting later means you can avoid soil-borne diseases (‘nasties’ are killed by the cooler autumn soil temperatures) and ensure flowering at the optimum time- mid to late spring. The beauty of tulips is their late appearance- they bridge the gap perfectly between spring-flowering daffodils and the first of the summer-flowering perennials.

Do you want to know 3 of my very favourites?

Well, I always like to grow something a bit different, so rather than the usual red tulips in supermarkets and florists, why not grow your own fancy bouquets with ‘Florist’s Treat Mixed’? This is the best selection of peony-flowered tulips, which are unashamedly flamboyant!


‘Red Impression’ is that classic red tulip. A better perennial than most, this will come back year after year and not die out after a single season. Be bold and grow them nice and close for maximum impact!


My last choice is a classic variety Tulip ‘Blueberry Ripple’, which pretty much looks like a heritage tulip, but with modern vigour and a tough attitude! Each petal almost painted by hand-in the most divine lilac-blue shade.. Let it take pride of place in a container on it’s own, pack the bulbs in, max out your display!

tulip blueberry ripple

However, one that is always on my radar is the hard to get hold of, Tulip ‘Brown Sugar’ ! It is gorgeous, and a variety that always makes me stop in my tracks. The bronze blooms look like brown sugar, but also SMELL of it, and from 6 foot away too! An incredibly choice bulb, which is worth trying to find!

Spring flower fashion

Selecting new plants and flowers isn’t so unlike the fashion world you know..!

Our autumn catalogue range has been launched, and the first of the new varieties has begun to strutt its stuff on the catwalk..!

First up, let’s talk bulbs. I often think they’re a great place for a beginner to start, as all the goodness is already inside, all packed up and ready to go! They’re easy to plant too, and a lot less maintenance than you’d think!

Tulips… ah, how traditional! BUT, things have moved on from the humble red tulips of Amsterdam, there’s now a whole bunch of new kids on the block, from some top ‘designers’! The star of the show is undoubtedly tulip ‘Cupcakes Mixed’, which was created with a touch of serendipity. Our receptionist simply arranged a few cut blooms from our new tulip trials, but together they looked fantastic. Big, blousy, peony-inspired blooms in purple, pink, green and cream, such a fab vintage mix!

Fashions for spring

Tulip ‘Cupcakes Mixed’

Another new fashion trend in tulips is ‘dual purpose’. Tulip ‘St. George’ demonstrates this perfectly, with red and white blushed flowers, which change appearance almost every day, partnered with hosta-like, red veined leaves. Just a gorgeous combination!

Fashions for spring

Tulip ‘St. George’

Daffodils are also in vogue and what’s great about them is how some newer blends are mixing the old with the new, but with a particular focus on fragrance. Sweet, sticky, and the right side of intoxicating, ‘Sweet Aroma’ is the perfect blend, with almost every type of bloom.

Fashions for spring

Daffodil ‘Sweet Aroma’

Elegant daffs are still as popular as ever, season after season. ‘Replete’ is everyone’s favourite pink daffodil, which manages to combine pastel AND rich tones superbly. Triple-layered flowers are flamboyant, fancy and flash!

Fashions for spring

Daffodil ‘Replete’

I hope that gives you a taster of next season’s styles and colours, and that’s only daffs and tulips, you just wait until you hear how the latest primroses are looking!!

Happy Gardening,


PS Remember you can keep up to date with my new plant developments by following me on twitter: @gardening_greek or liking my Facebook page: facebook.com/planthunter.uk

Tulip ‘Cupcakes’ christened online

Tulip ‘Cupcakes’ christened online

Tweeter names world exclusive collection

Tulip ‘Cupcakes’ christened online

Tulip ‘Cupcakes’

A chance arrangement of tulips has led to the launch of an exclusive new mix by the UK’s most successful horticultural mail order company.

When Sarah King, one of Thompson & Morgan’s designers and a keen amateur photographer, was asked to take some photos of a new range of tulips for one of Thompson & Morgan’s catalogues, she was only too pleased to oblige. Having taken some pictures of each of the new varieties, she scooped them up and put them in a vase on the company’s reception desk.

‘I literally ‘plonked’ them in a vase’, says Sarah, ‘I didn’t want them to go to waste. They are so unusual and with their light fragrance, I thought they would make a perfect arrangement for our reception area’.

The arrangement caught the eye of Michael Perry, T&M’s new product manager, who recognised the potential for a fabulous new tulip collection. ‘We were going to offer the tulips individually to our customers, but having seen how stunning they looked together, we felt that a collection of ALL the varieties would really appeal to gardeners’.

The next challenge was to find a name for the stunning peony-flowered tulip collection. A picture of the tulip arrangement that Sarah had inadvertently created was posted on Thompson & Morgan’s Facebook page. After a hugely positive response, T&M followers on both Twitter and Facebook were asked to come up with a name for the new and exclusive tulip mix. Martine Ellison-Smith tweeted in with the winning name – ‘Cupcakes’.

The new collection with its newly-chosen name will feature in Thompson & Morgan’s latest Autumn Catalogue which is due out in late July. Tulip ‘Cupcakes’ will be available to gardeners for delivery later this year, but customers are advised to order early as T&M expects demand to be high.

Rebecca Tute

Rebecca works in the Marketing department as part of the busy web team, focusing on updating the UK news and blog pages and Thompson & Morgan’s international website. Rebecca enjoys gardening and learning about flowers and growing vegetables with her young daughter.

Summer’s over, what next? Michael Perry asks

Tulip Everlasting Mixture

Tulip Everlasting Mixture

I think it has happened.

When leaving the house today; the feeling of autumn seemed to have descended. Although bright and sunny, the temperature was cooler and there were misty windows. Darn, I’ll have to start wearing socks again!

So what do we do now summer’s ‘over’?

In terms of summer bedding, there’s no need to hurry, just enjoy it while it lasts, trimming and dead-heading here and there. You might want to clear some areas to make way for bulb plantings though…

Now’s the ideal time to plant a tapestry that will burst into life next spring- just at the point where you’ve forgotten you planted it! Think colour, think fragrance and think non-stop interest. Plant up a lasagne of bulbs such as tall tulips (‘Everlasting’ Mixture is great as it comes back year after year, each time as good as the last), sprinkled with the newest and best rainbow daffs (‘Rainbow Butterflies Mixed’, and in the foreground some of our newest and rare crocus cancellatus.

Primrose Primlet Berryblossom Mixed

Primrose Primlet Berryblossom Mixed

And, bedding isn’t just for summer – there are some fab winter and spring varieties you can try too! Save £££s by planning and buying now; the world really is your oyster. There’s as much to choose from as there is for summer! Pansies, primroses, polyanthus, wallflowers, double daisies, violas… the list goes on! A couple of my favourites are pansy ‘Frizzle Sizzle Yellow Blue Swirl’ and the lovely primrose ‘Berryblossom Mixed’.

And if you’ve wanted to try fruit for a bit, now’s the ideal time to give it a go! Strawberries planted in the autumn will actually give 50% more fruit than those planted in the same year. And <a href=”/fruit/fruit-trees”>fruit trees</a> are best planted as bareroot right now – so get out with your spade!

Follow me on twitter @gardening_greek keep up to date with all the latest plant developments!

See you for now,


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