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Keukenhof eat your heart out.....

It all started last winter when I got a load of reduced tulip bulbs and planted them in various spots in my garden in early January, hoping they would make some sort of appearance come spring. I already had quite a prolific spring border, but I had dreams of Keukenhof scale tulip plantings and swaths of colour in my beds!

Well spring it seems decided to put in a late appearance and instead we were treated to blizzards of snow and freezing weather and 'The Beast From the East'.

By April though, the snow was gone and the warmth of the spring sun had coaxed my bulbs out of there frozen slumber. In fact I think the extra cold winter helped them put on a spectacular flowering show.

Being a very keen gardener though, I'm often a little tentative at going 'trigger happy' with my scissors and cutting all my tulips, or any flowers for that matter for bouquets or arrangements, as I love my garden and the effect it has with ever season.

So this year, I decided enough was enough, I had to stop raiding the garden, and my little cut flower bed in the vegetable plot was too small and of course when I casually suggested to my husband ''Could I just use some of your veg bed over there?'' I was met with a scoffing sort of spluttering sound, so decided I needed to look elsewhere to plant my tulip masterpiece.

We had planned on grassing a portion of the arable headland off, so the kids could have pet lambs in the spring...........but while this land lay fellow over winter I decided I could satisfy my flower growing obsession, and create my very own field of tulips especially for cutting.

Of course I enlisted the children's help as being half term and keen for some fresh air, I figured they wouldn't mind. Needless to say after the middle one threw dirt at the youngest then a tsunami of water filled my trench rather abruptly before I finished planting, we had to extract the 3 year old from the 'planting team', and gave him something else to occupy his time.

The soil is mainly heavy clay, so we worked in some grit for drainage and lime to improve the soil along with bone meal. We watered in the trenches and back filled with soil, which had been nicely broken up from digging. The next job is to add mulch on top of the rows.

Farmyard manure will be too potent, so this year we will trial covering a row with straw and another with leaf mulch and see which works best.

No more will I pillage my flower borders or containers for these beautiful blooms in March or April. I am going to enjoy slowly watching the progress of our little field of tulips this coming spring, there is nothing more satisfying than watching your hard work grow in to something beautiful.



Pinkney Farm, Keevil, Trowbridge, BA14 6NQ

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