gardening at home with sarah | tulips at perch hill

Watch as Sarah takes us through her favourite tulip varieties currently growing in the garden at Perch Hill.

This really is the tulip time of year, and I’ve got so many things to show you. We’ve gone for real, full-on intensity here, I think of it almost like an embroidery, like a sampler, with an understory of polyanthus, and an upper story with the shapes and colours of these incredible tulips.

This is one of our tulip trial beds, these are quite a random selection to be honest but I absolutely love it, it’s like sort of tutti-frutti or hundreds and thousands over a cake and I think I’m definitely going to make it into a collection. This is here, it’s woven birch supports to support the phlox paniculata hybrids when they get high. Or, if you don’t want to replace them every year, this pairing is really good, ‘Negrita’ and ‘Apricot Beauty’ because they’re incredibly perennial and they’ve been in this bed with these peonies for now must be 10 or 12 years. I also really love the more delicate, species tulips like this in shallow trays. This one’s called tulipa chrysantha which means ‘golden flower’ and it just looks so beautiful en masse like that like a sort of carpet, and I’m always very fond of this one which is called bakeri, very closely related to the wild tulip called saxatilis and Adam and I went on a trip, 25 or 30 years ago now to find this in the wild, and we did and it was a great excitement, and so I always want to grow at least one pot of tulipa bakeri.

This is the farmhouse garden right outside our house and historically I haven’t really liked soft gentle colours but I thought this year I’d try pinks and whites, and to be honest I’ve really loved it. I’ve loved it backlit particularly in the morning, with the sun coming up over there, but even in the evening too it kind of glows.

And then here what I’ve got is tulips as bedding, and so first come the tulips in this lovely range of purples from sort of quite pale mauve/lavender colours into deep rich saturated almost blacks with flecks or orange all through it, not too much just a light dusting, really like a carpet, and then coming after the tulips are alliums.

And of course, there is nothing better for whopper spring pots than tulips, and this has been my number one collection and combination this year, sort of the colour of rusty tin, always fabulous with spring-flowering euphorbia green.

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