May 4, 2017

Bowcliffe’s Sea of Tulips – some facts…

The Bowcliffe gardens are a crowning jewel of the Bowcliffe estate, with every tree, shrub and flower planted as part of a master plan to keep the beds and views at their very best, throughout every season. Over the past few weeks, one of the most impressive spring displays has burst into life, and a sea of colourful tulips now envelops the estate. We spoke to head gardener, Anna, who was responsible for the planning and planting of the tulips, about some of the impressive facts and figures which went into creating the display…


1.) The display

The display of tulips is made up of not one, but five varieties; The White Parrot, The Caravelle, The Couleur Cardinal, The Flaming Spring Green and The Marilyn. Under planted is a sea of blue in the form of Grape Hyacinth bulbs (Muscari Armeniacum). The entire display was intended to be successional so that the colour lasted a worthy amount of time. Luckily, the lack of heavy rain has helped the rather delicate tulips to hold their form particularly well this season!


2.) Why these varieties?

The selection was carefully thought out to create a wowing display, offering the most colourful impact. The colours are so vibrant that they can be enjoyed from afar; through our tenant’s office windows, from The Drivers’ Club and Terrace, whilst enjoying breakfast, lunch, or afternoon refreshments. You can also admire their unique formations up close when strolling through the gardens. I was attracted to these interesting and unusual varieties as they are wonderful from distance, but equally lovely close up.

tulips-3 tulips-4

One of my personal favourites is the tulip, ‘Marilyn’, as the colours fade and the petals open, the formation is beautiful. I first saw this bulb at Burnby Hall’s Tulip Festival, which is held every year by Bloms Bulbs. I later trialled a number at home, so when Jonathan Turner, Bowcliffe CEO, asked if we could we plant tulips, I was delighted at the opportunity to add this particular variety.


You’ll also have noticed that in addition to the huge display, we have added another tulip flower scheme to the larger planters. These offer an extra special surprise using contrasting shapes with pinks and whites.


tulips at bowcliffe hall
3.) Care and maintenance 

After the Tulips have bloomed and when the leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until the next planting time. It’s worth mentioning that Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so if you’re planting them at home make sure to replace with fresh soil every other year, otherwise they can be prone to disease. Planted on this scale at Bowcliffe, we intend to lift the tulips into pots but leave the masses in the ground, however, we will deadhead them if the wind isn’t on our side!

For flowers in pots, keep them watered in dry spells and use some feed at least once fortnightly.

The best time to plant tulips is late autumn/early winter (preferably late November time). Ensure they are about a trowels depth in the ground and for easier planting, I would recommend a bulb planter tool.


4.) The tulip project

We planted this display in late November just before I got married – there’s nothing like a good challenge and a goal to reach! It was hard work, but over the course of a week and with a team of four we managed to get 4,000 tulips in the ground and 2,000 Grape Hyacinths. The hard work has certainly paid off, as the views across the tulip vista show! We have had a lot of positive and kind comments from everyone enjoying the display.

tulips at bowcliffe hall

Make sure you take a wander around the grounds to admire the tulips whilst they are at their very best, they brighten even a dull spring day!

tulips at bowcliffe hall

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