The Bold and the Beautiful – Tulipmania


I’m reprising three earlier posts, now that bulbs are arriving in garden centres and nurseries – tulips and narcissus, hyacinth, crocus and all manner of buried treasure.

Tulips won’t mind being planted later in this year, even into November, though the choice will become more limited as stocks go down. Buy now and keep them in a cool, dry place until ready for planting.

Daffodils and narcissus can be planted from September onwards, generally the earlier the better. Having said that, I do recall plenty of conversations last year with folk who had garden variety daffs in flower before Christmas. There is nothing to be done if they do flower early, except enjoy them. Perhaps plant a little more deeply if this has affected you before.

In the meantime, be bold!

These pictures are from RHS Harlow Carr earlier this year (May) and are an inspiration. Spring was very late on account of the prolonged and extreme cold in March we endured. You might reasonably expect colour earlier, in a better year.

Molten Lava

OK, so it’s not a phase. Officially, Orange and more Orange.

A return visit to the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr (near Harrogate in Yorkshire) and so much to see!  Small in comparison to RHS Wisley, but still packing in the excitement and seasonal interest.

Planted containers full of tulips, in vibrant and jewel-like combinations, populate the gardens-through-history area and are things of pure amazement.


A simple concrete pot, one of a matched pair, on a stark terrace, brimming with colour. Pure molten lava.


The dots of bright blue from the muscari are essential in accentuating the vibrancy of the orange and red. The tulip varieties are noted below.


Lemon sorbet, blackberry ice, tutti-frutti, raspberry ripple, orange granita…

I’ve had to console myself with a visit to the RHS Gardens at Harlow Carr, while recording Alan Titchmarsh and the goings on at the Chelsea Flower Show on the BBC.

But hard done I am not, given the fantastic display at these Yorkshire gardens, as well as brunch at Betty’s famous establishment, on site.

The tulips particularly are an inspiration and quite dazzling.




Apricot Foxx…


Apricot Foxx (pink/peach), Brown Sugar (pink/orange) and La Belle Epoque (brown) are all stunning tulips in this fine display, matched perfectly with Fritillaria imperialis ‘Rubra Maxima,’ the Crown Imperial and a skirt of Narcissus Suzy (yellow with red centre).

A rhythm of large planters along a wide terrace with a daring, close-colour harmony.

Another brilliant display in the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr.

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