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Tulip Gardens

In the spring, it is easy to spot beautiful displays of Tulips. One of the reasons for this is that apart from their stunning beauty, Tulip flowers are readily available, cheap and have a wide range of colors and forms. Most garden outlets and bulb catalogues sell Tulips garden arrangements in packets of mixed colors according to group or in packets of named individual varieties.

The large species of Tulips combine really well with forget-me-nots and wallflowers. They also can be used to great effect planted in scattered clumps among perennials or other bulbs.

The smaller species Tulips have a less choice of colors than the garden Tulips, but they have a more delicate form and are ideal for rockeries and container gardens, or the front of borders.

Types of Garden Tulips and their characteristics

Tulips are classified into 15 groups or divisions. There are a large number of large-flowered hybrids and these are classified into 11 of these divisions, according to flowering time, plant shape, flower size and form. Species and species hybrids make up the four remaining groups.

Below are the 15 divisions of Tulips:

Division Name Characteristic
Division 1 Single Early Tulip
  • Excellent use as bedding plants in a Tulip garden.
  • Rounded petals forming small deep cup-shaped single flowers, which sometimes open flat in full sun.
  • They flower in mid spring.
  • They grow to 10-24in high.
  • Their stems are thick so they can handle the wind and rain.
  • Some varieties can be forced indoors.
  • Plant the bulbs 4-6in apart.
Division 2 Double early Tulips
  • They are good for mass bedding layouts or containers.
  • They prefer a sheltered site inTulip gardens.
  • They have large double flowers resembling peonies.
  • They flower in mid spring and are long-lasting.
  • They grow to 10-12in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 4-6in apart.
Division 3 Triumph Tulips
  • They can handle the wind and rain so can be used as bedding plants in exposed Tulip gardens.
  • These are sometimes referred to as Mid Season Tulips in bulb catalogues.
  • They have large, single, angular flowers.
  • They flower in mid spring and are long-lasting.
  • They grow to 16-24in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 4-6in apart.
Division 4 Darwin hybrid Tulips
  • Their colorful flowers make them ideal for the main focal point of a display in a Tulip garden.
  • These have large, round brilliantly colored flowers.
  • They flower in late spring.
  • They grow to 22-28in high on strong stems.
  • Plant the bulbs 6-8in apart.
Division 5 Single Late Tulips
  • These are usually used in bedding or border layouts of Tulip gardens.
  • These are sometimes referred to as May flowering Tulips.
  • They have squared-off, oval or egg shaped flowers.
  • They flower in late spring.
  • They grow to 26-32in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 4-6in apart.
Division 6 Lily-Flowered Tulips
  • They are beautiful bedding plants and prefer a sunny site.
  • These have long single flowers with pointed petals, often curving out at the tips.
  • They flower in late spring.
  • They grow to 20-26in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 4-6in apart.
Division 7 Fringed Tulips
  • These are usually used in bedding or border layouts.
  • One of the prettiest bulbs in a Tulip garden.
  • These have flowers similar to those of the Single late group but with fringed petals.
  • They flower in late spring.
  • They grow to 22-32in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 6-8in apart.
Division 8 Viridiflora Tulips
  • These are usually used in bedding or border layouts.
  • These green striped flowers look wonderful in a Tulip garden.
  • They are also known as Green Tulips.
  • These are similar to the Single late Tulips but the petals are partly green.
  • The flowers appear in late spring.
  • They grow to 9-24in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 6-8in apart.
Division 9 Rembrandt Tulips
  • These are usually used in bedding or border layouts.
  • These have large single flowers with petals streaked or blotched with a second color, which is caused by a harmless virus.
  • Their big cups stand out well in the Tulip garden.
  • The flowers appear in late spring.
  • They grow to 18-30in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 6-8in apart.
Division 10 Parrot Tulips
  • Their stems are often too weak to support the large unsheltered flowers and so staking is sometimes necessary.
  • They prefer a sheltered position.
  • They add a wild attraction to any Tulip garden.
  • These have large, often bi-colored, flowers with frilled and/or twisted petals.
  • They flower in mid and late spring.
  • They grow to 20-26in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 6-8in apart.
Division 11 Double late Tulips
  • These prefer a sheltered position.
  • They are sometimes called Peony-flowered Tulips.
  • They have large showy flowers, resembling peonies and look beautiful when planted in big bunches in your Tulip garden.
  • They flower in late spring.
  • The plants grow to 16-24in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 6in apart.
Division 12 Kaufmanniana Tulips
  • These Tulips are ideal for rock gardens, containers, or along the edges of orders.
  • These are also known as Water lily Tulips.
  • They have long, often bi colored, flowers.
  • They flower in early spring.
  • They grow to 4-10in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 4-6in apart.
Division 13 Fosteriana Tulips
  • Their brilliant eye-catching colors make them good for focal planting. A must have for any Tulip garden.
  • These have large, long flowers.
  • They flower in mid spring.
  • They grow to 8-16in high.
  • Plant the bulbs 6in apart.
Division 14 Greigii Hybrid Tulips
  • As most of these are short, they look best in rockeries and containers.
  • No Tulip garden is quite right without these beautiful hybrids.
  • These have lovely colorful flowers with maroon or purple-brown veined or spotted foliage.
  • They flower in early to mid spring.
  • They grow to 9-20in high.
Division 15 Species Tulips
  • These tend to be smaller and more delicate in form than the garden Tulips.
  • They are ranging from 3-18in in height.
  • They are the best at naturalizing and so are a must for any Tulipgarden, as they keep multiplying.
  • These are the most readily available species:
  • Tulipa clusiana (popularly known as the lady Tulip)
  • Tulipa praestans
  • Tulipa tarda

Popular Tulip Gardens

Keukenhof

The most densely visited destination in Holland. A trip to the country is incomplete if it does not include a visit to the Keukenhof Park.

This park is unique, world famous, and has been one of the most popular destinations in the Netherlands for sixty years. It is a place to see spring blossom.

They say such an abundance of colours and fragrances cannot be found anywhere else. Million flowers form a glorious decor for the most beautiful photos. It is the known to be the most beautiful spring garden in the world!

Keukenhof facilitates the ultimate spring feeling with the wonderful works of art, the surprising inspiration gardens along with many flower shows.

More than 7 million Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are in full bloom. It is generally open from mid March up until mid May.

The Tulip rage tapered off within a few years, leaving thousands of Dutchmen penniless. The economic scars of the Tulipomania were felt in Holland for decades. Still, the Dutch continued to raise their favorite flower.

Today, the Netherlands remains the chief source of Tulip bulbs for much of the world, with millions cultivated each year. The total value of Dutch horticulture approaches a quarter-billion dollars annually!

Sherwood Gardens

Sherwood Gardens was created in the 1920's by John W. Sherwood, a local petroleum pioneer and conservationist. Begun as a hobby, and planted by Mr. Sherwood with Tulips that he imported from the Netherlands, the gardens have become known as the most famous Tulip garden in North America.

Approximately 80,000 Tulip bulbs are planted annually along with other spring flowering bulbs. Dogwoods, flowering cherries, wisteria and magnolias bloom throughout the garden. One will also enjoy the brightly colored azaleas and old English boxwoods.

The garden has always been in full bloom towards the end of April and beginning of May. Adding to the beauty and uniqueness of the present day garden are the numerous varieties of rare trees.

During the mid-summer months the beds of the gardens are planted with masses of annuals thanks to the adopt-a-plot effort of the Guilford Association.

More than six acres in size, Sherwood Gardens has no gates, fences or other barriers. The public may stroll at leisure through the grounds. There is no admission charge or reservation required.