It was a patch of species tulips, Tulipa linifolia, that were shining merrily in the afternoon sunlight. It was electric and I had to stop and stare at them in wonderment. When I turned around there were several cameras behind me from other visitors who had been similarly affected by the sight.
Bulbs give the most pleasant of surprises as they are chosen, usually the previous August, then planted around November, then it’s not until you see the tips emerging March/April time that you remember about them and excitement mounts. What will they look like? Will the splash of colour be giving the effect you need?
Anyway I think you’ll agree they have not let me down. There have been blobs of intense colour on the Mediterranean Border since early March from Tulipa 'Persian Pearl' a rich purple, to the brightest of bright yellows in Tulipa tarda. Alpine tulips are such good value, as provided they have lots of gritty free draining compost they come year after year.
The beginning of the week saw me on my hands and knees as we were in the arboretum planting out wild flowers; red campion, ragged robin and cowslips. These have all been grown by the nursery from seed we harvested around the arboretum from 2013 so it’s very satisfactory to see it come full circle, and we had some new volunteers with us so it was great to be able to plant with them and get to know them a bit. The weather was rewarding: a beautiful sunny warm day; the light was dappled through the trees, little wind just perfect! What a great induction for them all couldn’t have been planned better.