While in Amsterdam this year, I visited the Amsterdam Tulip Museum in the Jordaan district (across from the Anne Frank House).

It’s a cute little museum located in the basement under De Bollenmand (Bulb Basket) museum shop that sells tulip bulbs, books, gifts, tulip vases etc…

The tulip bulbs sold at the museum are from Colorblends which is a unique flower bulb company that selects and pre blends different tulip colors and times them to all bloom together. This is a great feature that helps take the guesswork out of ordering and trying to time them correctly. The selections are lovely and combine many different color flowers. Visit them at 

The Tulip Museum under the shop has a short film and information describing the origin of the tulip (from Turkey and central Asia) and its dramatic history to current day cultivation as the Netherlands’s most famous flower. One room is filled with interesting and unusual tulip vases which for some reason are not popular in the US except in very old homes. It’s a quick 30 -45 minute trip through the museum and costs 6.00 Euros or free if you have the Holland Pass.

The fall bulb catalogues from many companies are already in the mail. Look in your garden and imagine what beautiful colors you would enjoy seeing next spring.  Don’t let bulb planning and planting slip away this year. Determine where you want to plant bulbs; all they need is a sunny spot and well drained soil in zones 3-7.  Check for your planting zone at

Order bulbs now for the selection you want!  Buy big, top quality bulbs from reputable companies. Cheaper is not always better; cheap bulbs are notorious for being too small and you may wait years for healthy blooms. Size does matter. The bigger the bulb, the better the flower.

Design and bulb ideas:

  • The narrow, single row (chorus line) of tulips can be fun but just doesn’t look natural. Any design you plan may be enhanced by planting in random or odd number drifts with at least seven bulbs in each hole.
  • Consider how you are going to deal with withering foliage after the bulbs have finished flowering. Combining daffodils and daylilies is an easy way to cover dying bulb foliage with fresh new green foliage from the emerging daylilies.
  • If you have critters that constantly eat your tulips consider daffodils instead as they are toxic and animals avoid eating them.
  • Prepare garden holes as soon as possible where bulbs are going to be planted by loosening soil and mixing in well rotted compost. It will make fall bulb planting an easy job.
  • You can start to plant bulbs usually in late September if the ground has cooled or in October and November (up until the ground freezes). As a general rule, bulbs should be planted at a depth of at least twice the bulb diameter, but carefully read package directions accompanying your purchase for your bulb’s particular depth and spacing width requirements.
  • The wide base of the bulb should be placed on loose soil horizontal with the ground and the point facing up to the sky. Refill with soil and give a light watering to settle.
  • Fertilize early in the spring and enjoy the show.
  • When blooming has ceased, deadhead (cut off) faded blooms. Resist the temptation to cut any foliage until it has withered and died down. The foliage is feeding the bulb under ground for next years flower.

At the moment it’s hard to keep up with all the plant sales, digging, dividing, weeding and general garden maintenance but I will make a point of planning in advance this year for a great spring display 2013. Hope you do too.

Happy Gardening!

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