We order them in August, and then in November we plant tulips by the thousand here at Common Farm Flowers near Bruton in Somerset. From the end of March to early May we will have tulips in all our flower delivery bouquets as well as more for our wedding and special event flowers.
This year I'm glad there's been a good snap of cold weather before we plant. Tulips like a bit of cold to help kill off diseases, which is why traditionally they're planted in November. We do budget to lose about 10% to tulip fire (when the tulips come up short and stunted and twisted and don't really flower,) and so don't plant the tulips in the same place for another three years so there's no chance of a build up of disease.
We treat tulips as annuals here, planting them to flower just once and then composting the bulbs. We're growing them for cutting, not for show, so we don't need to plant them especially deep in the hope that they'll naturalise and clump up and reflower year after year.
So we dig a relatively shallow trench, perhaps fo...