Last year I bought a lot of tulips from J Parker in September. When I came to plant them in November, I noticed that quite a few were mouldy, some very mouldy. Being ignorant, I binned the worst ones, and just wiped the mould off the others and planted them, and I have Tulip Fire.
I wrote to J Parker and got this reply: "Good Afternoon and thank you for your email all our bulbs are sent out the correct time for planting in the garden or in pots outside we do not advises they be stored for the length of time you have stored them as this can damage the bulbs and cause them to sweat or rot."
Hmmm. I bought them early because I wanted specific species and I kept them in a cool, dry ex-garage. Although I'm a relatively inexperienced and definitely inexpert gardener, I thought that November is the preferred time for planting tulips, especially here in very rainy south-west Scotland. Indeed, I know that some of my garden club members plant their tulip pots as a Christmas Day ritual, unless there's a hard frost.