The bulbs should be only just under the surface, and three may go in a five-inch pot.
They must be made firm, yet not rammed hard in the soil.
Place the pots, under 4 inches of cinder-ash or coco-nut-fibre, in cold frames, or boxes indoors, or sunk in cinder-ashes out of doors, until growth shows. Remove then to frames, cold greenhouses, or windows that are not too hot, and commence to supply a little water.
More water and sunshine are needed as growth quickens, and as soon as buds form the Tulips can be forced on in a temperature of from 550 to 65°.
Parrot Tulips can be pot-grown, and forced.
Darwin Tulips can be pot-grown in the ordinary way, if desired, but their proper place is the garden.
Both outdoor and potted Tulips can be given weak liquid manures when making buds. Forced Tulips are often fed once or twice a week, after buds begin to colour, with a solution of a quarter ounce of sulphate of iron in three gallons of water.
For the culture of Tulips in moss-fibre and sea-shell, the directions respecting Hyacinths may be followed, for which see preceding chapter. Scarlet, white and yellow Van Thols are earliest; the other coloured Van Thols not being as safe, though often successful.
A start should be made in September, with a view to obtaining Christmas specimens. It is fatal to let the roots become dry. Next to place, in bowls, etc., come the early single ordinary Tulips, and some of the earliest Doubles prove satisfactory. Singles and Doubles should be kept apart.
When arranging beds of Tulips the variegated foliage varieties should not be forgotten, as their leaves make such admirable settings for the gay blossoms. If a bed is wanted to look charming for many weeks the Early, Mid-Season, and Late Garden Tulips can be blended, and all plants removed as they become unsightly, leaving the field to their brethren who are less precocious. As before explained, the lifted Tulips will not take any harm if they are planted in reserve borders to finish their drying off, which means also their bulb-ripening.
As these flowers are ideal ones for vase filling, quantities should be grown in boxes for gathering, also in what are known as box beds by south walls. These resemble sunk frames, but can be covered inexpensively by lengths of oiled linen instead of by lights, at such times as the plants require protection.
Nor need they be shaped like frames: four lengths of wood, cut 10 inches deep, joined at the corners of the oblong, and sunk 2 inches in the border, will make protecting sides and ends.
As the level of such a bed is below that of the garden, frosts are less injurious. Dutch, or Formal Gardening is generally carried out considerably, for spring, with Tulips and miniature clipped Shrubs. They are capital companions, too, in tubs and urns, while Tulip window-boxes afford beautiful displays both in town and country.
The charm of 'herbaceous' Tulips will astound flower-lovers who have no knowledge of any but the early garden Tulips. Added to rockeries and mixed borders, they result in splendid colour splashes.
Early Tulips, in Box Bed by South Fence.
Yellow, with brownish back to petals.
Rose, with yellow centre.
Scarlet, with yellow centre.
Crimson-scarlet, black centre.
Crimson, black centre.
White, flushed with deep rose, yellow centre.
Red, black centre, with yellow.
White, streaked with red.
Gold-tipped clear yellow, scarlet base.
Yellow, with rose reverse.
Yellow, with curled petals.
White, slightly edged rose.
Crimson-scarlet, nearly black centre.
Crimson, with white eye.
Orange-red and yellow.
Blood-crimson, very tall.
Other May-flowering hardy Tulips are classed as Bizarras, which are yellow, flaked and streaked with white or other colours Byblœmens, of white foundation marked with black, purple, violet, or lilac; Roses, which have scarlet or rose markings on white,and Feathered Tulips: all of which are edged by colours.
(White, rose edged)
(White, streaked with red)
The Rembrandt Tulips are a fine hardy class to order for beds or borders, to bloom late; some, such as Semele, rose, are self-coloured, others, such as Sirene, with brown and white slashes on a white ground, and the lilac and carmine Butterfly, offer other effects. As a rule the Tulip species of the preceding list need sunshine and the shelter of rockeries, or from small shrubs or near walls and hedges, while Rembrandt, Darwin, Parrot Tulips are quite robust.
All the last are beautiful, but connoisseurs may like to select from the following:
Crimson and black.
Yellow, streaked with crimson.
Yellow striped brown.
Deep red and gold.
Red, with yellow tips.
Red and yellow broadly flushed.
Terraced gardens the beds of which are tulip-filled shine out from afar, yet one small bed in a cottage foreground may contain prize specimens.
It is impossible to give lists of the best doubles and singles, for early and mid-season and late bloomings, but I suggest that self-beds of any of the following will be either of exceptional brilliance or especially rare colour.