Spring flowering bulbs with dazzling displays are blooming in garden beds across the country.
Stunning displays of daffodils, freesias, ixias, ranunculus, and sparaxis, with their vibrant mixed colours, cannot be surpassed.
There is one spring flowering bulb that stands head and shoulders above all others, the tulip.
The name tulip originated from the Persian word delband meaning turban, given the flower's turban shape.
Tulips are truly beautiful flowers culturally associated with the Netherlands, but their native home is Turkey. They were brought into the Netherlands in the 1600s and soon became the most expensive flower in the world.
Between 1634 and 1637, it is said tulips cost almost 10 times what an average working-class man earned in a year.
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These days there are more than 3000 naturally occurring and genetically cultivated varieties of tulips - but thankfully they're a lot cheaper to buy.
Tulips are available in every colour of the rainbow except for pure blue varieties.
Their floral form is just as diverse as their colour range with 15 categories, some of the more popular types being standard tulips in single or double forms, and a range of colours that are relatively inexpensive.
Parrot and fringed varieties have ruffled petal edges and often twisted petals.
The ever-popular Darwin hybrids come in spectacular colours, mostly in the reddish orange to red, with other varieties in pink, white, and yellow.
Early blooming kaufmanniana or water lily types have contrasting centres which open out flat over time.
There are also early season and late season varieties and the tall Rembrandt tulips with pale colours distinctly variegated or streaked with deep purple or reddish flames.
The gorgeous broken colours in these tulips were not natural variations, they originally resulted from a virus transferred from plant to plant by aphids. These days Rembrandt tulips get their colour break from careful plant breeding.
Tulips should be planted in the cooler months of autumn - around Mother's Day is the perfect time to plant tulip bulbs to ensure a vibrant spring display.
They need good drainage to grow well; in sandy soils incorporate organic manner to improve soil structure and in heavier soils, raise beds to improve drainage, or grow tulips in containers.
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