We are back from ten days in Corfu, where it is almost 20 degrees warmer than here, to find that our tulips are at their best. You cant time the flowering times of your plants any more, it is just too difficult, but the fact that it has got so much colder means that our tulips are going to be with us for quite a lot longer. This year the display in the par terre are of Triumph tulips, which I think suit the par terre very well. They are big and strong, and came from Peter Nyssen which is a very good wholesaler. Most of the rest came from Bloms, and are really wildly pretty and look like peonies. If I didn’t plant tulips most of the colour would vanish from my garden. As years go by you learn which are the good repeaters, and which are not. Belle Époque is not a good repeater, and Ballerina is. Finally I prefer the dusky tones of Abu Hassan which goes very well with Euphorbia Fern Cottage, to tulip Queen of Sheba. Almost my favourite tulip is Sanne which is in the Klimt border running all the way down. I would describe it as subtle. I must mention the species tulips which increase and on the whole are small, you must try these in your garden, preferably in a hot dry place.
Everything is beginning to join up and the bare earth is going which is a relief. This is a very dry Spring and it has hardly rained at all. Last year it rained all the time, and we did nothing but complain about it. The ferns have all been cut back and their fronds are all uncurling which looks very beautiful. I have given Temba a bath, and I feel bad as he is shivering a lot as it is so cold.