This is a very late post as Spring has been and gone and summer seems to have arrived, although this week in June as I write, it's a very wet and soggy affair!
Though what better time is there than on a wet, damp day where you can't do too much outside, than to go through all of your photos, ascertain your triumphs and failures of the season, making notes along the way of what you'll change next year (or wont).
First year tulips and beds taking shape (note lack of fencing!)
This season I planted quite a lot, about 3000 in fact. Next year I will plant the same, though instead of taking that bargin box of 500 bulbs all in one colour, I'll invest in smaller quantities with more variation. While the pink ones (name unknown) were fantastic and early, flowering from the 21st of March in time for Mothers day. The other 600 purple ones came at an odd time in the season, not around Easter or with any other flowers so I found it had to sell or use a very plain purple flower!
Tulips getting put into crates ready to store in the shed
I dug a load up early and stored in crates in the shed and some in the outdoor fridge until I needed them. This seemed to work well, I was able to get a good 10 days storage, and found once cut and hydrated, they flowered well and vase life was still a good 10 days. The only ones that struggled were any stored in chiller for over 2 weeks, these didn't have the longest vase life once out of the cool temps and cut.
A lovely shot of the field taking shape post tulip harvest in mid April.
The best thing I did for growing the tulips was apply a straw mulch to one of the beds as a trial. Not only did this suppress weeds, its kept the soil covered and added organic matter, which was a haven for worms and other soil critters.
The land itself was heavy clay, compacted due to agricultural machinery, and not a worm case in sight in November so I was very happy to discover thousands in the spring under my mulch! No slug problem as too early and cool so I will be straw mulching all my bulb beds this winter.
I did not plant enough narcissus, I didn't think I would have the space so popped in only about 300, which I regretted once they started to flower!
Geranium won hands down for scent and its looks. Cheerfulness was a lovely filler flower early in April, and the small minnow variety added a cute little pop of yellow and white to any smaller jam jar flowers I did.
Very late to party in May came Narcissus poeticus, or Pheasant's eye. The longest stems of all the varieties planted, they were the last staple of the spring flowers before the alliums and summer started to poke its head around the corner!
Narcissus Pheasant's Eye
Spring gives you some lovely combinations of flowers to use. I think investing in tulips is a worthwhile venture. I think this coming season I will order a wider variety, invest in a bigger chiller so I can store more until needed for markets, orders and remember to photograph much more so the following year I have more to reflect on!
Snapshot of April