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In praise of the tulip

In praise of the tulip

The tulip is one of the most colourful and varied of our springtime flowers – and is always a beautiful sight at this time of year. So we were interested to hear about how this popular flower is being celebrated in Scotland at the North Berwick Tulip Festival.

Now in its 11th year, the annual festival is organised by long-term Amberol customer North Berwick in Bloom. The 2022 festival showcases an amazing 40 different varieties of tulip which have been planted all across the seaside town.

The tulips were planted during November 2021 at 15 sites and began flowering in March of this year. The planting scheme has been carefully planned for longevity, to ensure that different varieties of tulip flower at different times, with the colourful floral displays expected to last through until May. The tulip trail is also accompanied by a map which can be picked up from the town’s train station and library.

Encouraging people to get out and about

Libby Morris, chairwoman of North Berwick in Bloom, commented: “[The festival] was started because there is such a wide variety of tulips and they grow so well in North Berwick, they look beautiful, and it was a way to show people all the varieties. It’s to encourage people to get out and about in the town, and an excuse for people to go for a different kind of a walk.

“There’s some tulips that appear every year and some that we plant, and then, when we finish with them, we always dig them up in May and give them away in exchange for donations so we can buy more tulips for next year.”

Planning ahead for success in Britain in Bloom

North Berwick in Bloom is a national finalist in this year’s Britain in Bloom competition. Although the tulip festival will long be over by the time the judges visit, year round planning and planting is looked on favourably by the judges - and so the Tulip Festival is likely to form an important part of the group’s entry.

Growing tulips in self-watering planters

Tulips grow well in borders and containers; they also prefer well-drained soil and so Amberol’s range of self-watering planters are ideal. Dry bulbs are usually planted in the autumn and it’s worth bearing in mind that different varieties have different bloom times, so it’s possible to have several months of flowering throughout the spring. Although many tulip bulbs need to be dug up after flowering, some varieties, such as Tulipa Orange Emperor and Tulipa Negrita can be left in well-drained soil and will flower repeatedly year after year.

The history of the tulip

Although we tend to connect tulips with The Netherlands, the tulip actually believed to have originated in Iran (then known as Persia), and Turkey where they were often worn in turbans.

It was not until the late 16th century that tulips were introduced to Europe, including The Netherlands, where they became very fashionable and highly prized, creating a huge inflation in price and disrupting the market. In fact, tulip bulbs became so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency, forcing the Dutch government to introduce trading restrictions on bulbs.

Fast forward 400 years and although tulips are now grown across the globe, cultivated varieties are still often identified as ‘Dutch tulips’.

For more information about how Amberol’s self-watering planters can help meet all your planting needs, email or call 01773 830 930.