Tulips don’t just come from Amsterdam…

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Gardenproud’s Tim Sykes on where to see the best tulips…

April marks the time when the garden really comes to life, all those new shoots are there in the beds. All that hard work in the fall and winter months is paying off and a new dawn is upon us.

Bulbs and spring-flowering trees put on a show and suddenly our gardens are adorned with color.

Many gardens listed in the National Garden Scheme’s Yellow Book open in late March and April. They include the beautiful landscaped gardens at Doddington Place, near Sittingbourne, which open on Sundays 3 and 10 April. The beautiful gardens of Great Comp Garden, Platt, near Sevenoaks are also open.

At Great Comp, every spring you can taste magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons. Of particular note at Great Comp is William Dyson’s nursery which sells one of my favorites – salvias. William is a salvia king with a whole variety you can buy. We have a number of its species in our own garden and often recommend them to our customers.

Put April 20 in your diary and be sure to head to Pashley Manor Gardens to enjoy their Tulip Festival. Pashley Manor Gardens is located just on the Kent/East Sussex border at Ticehurst. Their tulip display is to die for! With over 20,000 bulbs planted each year.

If tulips are your passion, you can always treat yourself to a weekend in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is an incredible destination. On our last visit we stayed in the center (which I think is the best option) so we experienced the whole city on foot. We then traveled by coach to the Dutch bulb fields. Probably the most famous gardens are at Keukenhof, where you can see myriad varieties in an incredible 79-acre landscaped garden.

Keukenhof Gardens was established in 1950 and is located a short drive away, just past the airport. They were originally part of Keukenhof Palace and were redesigned in 1857, then turned into a permanent exhibition in 1950.

The gardens are home to just about every variety of tulip, hyacinth and daffodil imaginable. We decided to monkey on the tulips last fall – I seem to remember ordering a huge quantity from Keukenhof in the summer of 2021 which almost killed us and a few colleagues when we tried to plant them! But I’m sure it will be worth it!

For more help with designing your garden, contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820, or visit www. reallygardenproud.com see its show garden at Corker Outdoor Living www.corker.co.uk

What to do in the garden in April?

April is always a mix of showers and sunshine, so everything grows, including weeds! It’s time to keep these little beasts under control

Sowing and propagating seeds, both in the greenhouse and outdoors. Watch out for late frosts and watch the forecast. Protect budding fruit plants in particular

If you haven’t tackled it yet, it’s time to tie and prune climbing roses.

If the weather is good, you can start planting your hanging baskets for the summer.

Plant your summer flower bulbs, such as anemones, dahlias, gladioli, alliums, freesias, agapanthus and lilies.

Plant your herbaceous borders with fresh perennials (there is still time). Just make sure the specimens you buy have strong shoots, and plant them in well-prepared, conditioned soil.

You may already have perennials that you have grown that have grown too large (like salvias). You can now divide and replant them. Carefully dig up the plant and its roots, separate the groupings where you can see an obvious separation and replant. Do this before the plant sends up fresh flower shoots.

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