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Spring Garden

I'm not new to gardening, but this is the first year of my retirement which was going to be spent mainly in my garden, however I hadn't anticipated the rain!  I've recently been able to dig out a space 5m x 1m at the side of my garage and cleared all the old perennials out, only to find my tulip bulbs rotten in their baskets which I planted maybe 2 years ago!  I have heavey clay soil and as this bit of garden is visible from my kitchen window, I'd like a cheerful display from early spring and would like to group several tulip bulbs again. Should I be taking these bulbs up every year and what else could I plant to continue the early spring garden before the tulips make an appearance in late April?


  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

    One solution is to plant tulips in aquatic baskets and take the basket out after they have finished flowering. I also have clay soil and the tulips do not last, I grow them in pots and daffodils in the ground. 

    I would also add biennials, wallflowers, honesty, sweet rocket.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,138

    Go with the flow and choose bulbs to suit your soil - plenty of daffs and alliums will cope with clay soil,especially if you can work in plenty of compost and/or well rotted manure and some grit to open up the soil.

    Grow tulips in pots - either plastic ones you can sink in the beds in spring or terracotta or glazed pots that you can move about as features.   Give them good quality compost and keep them sheltered and frost free through winter then bring them out into the light in spring.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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  • When buying tulips from a specialist supplier at a flower show, I was told that if you want tulips to last in the ground from one year to the next, you need to plant them at least twelve inches down.       Not sure if this actually works, as I have never managed to dig a hole that deep!

  • It seems that tulips are well known for only flowering in their first year of planting.  I lift mine from pots, and keep them dry in the greenhouse, but often they shrivel away.  If I understand right, it's the  SPECIES tulips that will carry on flowering each year.  If you look on packs of tulips it should say if they're species or not  .Although having said that, I have some red tulips in a bed that have flowered for 30 years!  Lucky or what?

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