Planting tulips? Always think of your colour scheme | Brian Kidd

Orange ballerina tulips.
Orange ballerina tulips.
Share this article
Have your say

Pam and I went to the garden centre and bought some tulips. The amazing thing is that the flower is already in the bulb. If you cut the bulb in half and look inside, you can see the flower. It’s amazing, the flower bud is already in the bulb and all it needs is moisture, light and air. So, let’s plant some!

Tulips are readily available. Make sure you study the picture on the front of the pack and choose the colour you like best.

All tulips bought in packs will produce flowers because the bulbs are large.

But beware if you see what appears to be a bargain because these bulbs will be smaller than usual and they don't all produce a flower, just leaves.

Here are some ideas for you to consider.

Blue looks great if grown with something pink and pink tulips are wonderful. But again, look at those pictures on the packs.

Blue polyanthus or forget- me-nots are super when grown together.

Orange Ballerina tulips are stunning when grown with Golden Bedder wallflowers.

The latter are really fragrant and the tulips will zoom above the wallflowers. Even better, both will flower at the same time.

Try to buy a few tulips each week always taking care to study those pictures on the front of the packets to not only see if you like them but also whether they will go with the ones you’ve already bought and fit your colour scheme.

You should plant the bulbs in November to avoid slug damage.

And, most importantly, make sure you plant them the right way up!

They must be planted with their points upwards and with at least three inches of soil above the top of the bulb. People tend to plant bulbs too shallowly.

A tablespoon of sharp sand underneath each bulb will help protect them from slugs and the sand will also make sure they are not standing in cold, wet soil which could see them rot.

About 10 years ago our wonderful grandchildren Rebecca, 10 going on 15, and David, nine, saw pictures on the front of packs of tulips and asked me which ones to plant?

For little boys, plant Pinocchio; for little girls, go for Red Riding Hood. And guess what, they planted the

bulbs the right way up!

I adore tulips and very much hope you will find the colour you like best.

But please don’t plant ‘mixed’. It’s all about the colours.

Remember, pink looks great with blue, red looks wonderful with yellow.

Orange is beautiful with dark blue forget-me-nots. The variety Merry Widow, a pink, looks good with light blue forget-me-nots.

And see if you can find West Point, a most remarkable lily-flowered tulip. It is bright yellow with pointed tips on the flowers.

If you can find it, your spring garden – yes, even though the clocks go back tonight, spring really is coming – will be greatly admired.


Have you got a couple of parsley and thyme plants? They can be grown on a windowsill, balcony or in a small space in the garden. Remember what home-made stuffing tastes like? Dare I say it, Christmas isn't far away.