Tulips are spring bulbs that are planted in the autumn. The flowers appear from early April until May.  They come in a variety of colours and shapes. They add colour at a time when there is little variety of colour in the garden.  They brighten up borders or pots and are easy to grow.


Tulip bulbs were first introduced to Europe in the early 17th century to Holland from Persia (Iran). They became very popular for their unusual shape and colours. Their rarity created Tulipomania where bulbs changed hands at vast prices. This lasted about 3 years, then the market crashed and much money was lost.  They were so popular that many of the Dutch painters included them in their paintings.

Development and breeding

Todays bulbs are mostly cultivated in the Dutch bulb fields where they are grown on the sandy subsoil. They are a sight to see as they are grown in coloured strips in early spring.  The biggest displays are in the Keurkenhof gardens jus outside Amsterdam.  When the growers put on fantastic displays.


I visited the bulb fields and growers nurseries some years ago and they are a sight to see. And the Keurkenhof gardens with their mass displays shouldn’t be missed.

These days there are growers in East Anglia around Spalding, this means we can buy home grown bulbs.

Chris Moon