Tulips have long inspired devotion and for enthusiasts their appearance is the highlight of the gardening year. From the elegant blooms of lily-flowered varieties such as ‘West Point’ to the over-the-top exuberance of ‘Rainbow Parrot’ with its rippled and colour-infused petals, there’s a tulip for every taste.

Growing them is easy - they need to be planted deeply into free-draining soil in a sunny part of the garden and not allowed to dry out - but getting them to repeat the performance two years in a row takes a bit of work. Start by deadheading as soon as the flowers fade, then apply a foliar feed every two weeks until the leaves die down.

Afterwards lift the bulbs and store them somewhere cool and dry before replanting them in November.

The flowers will be smaller in the second year but treated properly they will put on a better show after being fed then lifted than they would if just left in the ground.


Pelargoniums that have been overwintering in the greenhouse or on windowsills are beginning to grow again. Cut them back now and then wait until there is a flush of new growth before taking cuttings.

Scottish Gardener:


  • Divide primroses once they have finished flowering.
  • Add fresh soil and compost to raised beds.
  • Dig compost into vegetable beds and cover with black polythene to let the soil heat up.
  • Sprinkle slow-release fertiliser around shrubs and hedges and fork lightly into the soil.
  • Prune forsythias, cutting back to strong, young shoots.
  • Give lawns a boost with an application of high-nitrogen fertiliser.
  • Feed fruit bushes and mulch fruit trees with well-rotted manure.
  • Tie in stems of climbers as they start to grow.
  • Remove daffodil heads as the flowers fade to prevent them from setting seed.
  • Hoe off annual weeds as they appear.
  • Lift and divide established perennials to increase vigour and to make more plants.
  • Pinch out the tips of sweet peas to encourage bushy growth.
  • Trim heathers as the flowers fade.