Welcome to our Head Gardener’s Journal

In this monthly column, we will share technical aspects of our work and also keep you up to date about ongoing projects. If there is any topic you might want to hear more about, please ask during your next visit!

Tulip Display in the South Garden

The tulip display in the South Garden is one of the spring highlights of our garden. We treat tulips as a spring bedding scheme as modern hybrid tulips do not repeat reliably. The bulbs are planted in November and taken out at the end of May, when they are replaced with summer annuals. Using these two bedding schemes ensures colour from mid-April to October.

Since they are only used once, the bulbs are planted only about 5 cm deep for easier lifting. The discarded bulbs are composted.

Every year, we plant more than 2,000 tulips of 17 varieties in a distinct colour palette of white, pink, magenta, mauve and black. We tend to use only late-season tulips for maximum impact, and the tulips are set off against spring-flowering clematis and camassias. Towering over the tulips are the white blooms of our magnificent aesculus.

Tulips in assorted varieties
Laid out tulips ready for planting
Tulip map. Symbols indicating shape, height, colour and flowering time of individual varieties.

The bulbs are planted in groups of 5 or 6 according to a detailed map. This system allows us to refine the display by adjusting the map when the tulips are in flower. The coordinates of the map are determined by the permanent shrubs, large perennials and evergreens.

Tulip display in late April

Having had various problems with the display in previous years, we now source large bulbs (size 12) exclusively from JUB Holland. Using larger bulbs results in stronger and more impressive plants.