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It's tulip time!16 November 2012
November is by far the best time of the year to plant tulips a little later than most bulbs, to avoid the nasty fungal disease tulip fire causing brown spots and distorted leaves.
There's a dazzling array of tulips at your favourite garden centre, and your choice is likely to be very personal to you. Some like planting in blocks of single colour for maximum impact: others pair two varieties with contrasting colours. Deep purple 'Queen of Night' with pure white 'Maureen', for example, make a striking black-and-white display.
Be careful to pair up your tulips so they both flower at the same time, as there are early, mid-season and late varieties. For the longest possible display from April right through till June, start with an early: say sumptuous coppery double-flowered 'William of Orange'. Then move to the mid-season flowering Darwin hybrids like scarlet 'Apeldoorn', starting in late April into May.
The lily-flowered tulips like 'White Triumphator' flower sumptuously through May; then you can finish your display with a flourish by planting some lovely single late varieties. 'Bleu Aimable' is dusky lilac, while 'Sorbet' is pink-tinged white striped flaming red.
There are dozens more to choose from in the garden centre: just ask the staff for details.