9 May 2016

I remember the electric red tulips with black hearts in my Grandparents garden in New Zealand. Year after year they would come up in the large rose garden and all over the rock gardens. Those beautiful tulips started my crazy obsession and this spring The Old Parsonage is a riot of colour. You can never have too many tulips, I can’t wait until next spring.

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  1. Elizabeth Hall says:

    Apologies for my ignorance, do you lift the tulips and plant up the beds for Summer, or are they solely tulip beds. I have a sudden obsession with tulips too!

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      I lift all tulip bulbs to make space for the dahlias and flowering annuals like cosmos. Best Charlie

  2. Alicia Whitaker says:

    I agree Charlie about never too many tulips. You inspired me to order a massive amount – heavy on parrots, black, orange and apricots. Do you put this year’s spent bulbs on the compost heap or will you save some for replanting in the fall? Alicia

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Alicia, Im glad you have been inspired, you can never have enough tulips. Squeeze them all in and plant enough to be able to pick huge vases for the house. I compost my bulbs after the season and plant new ones just to be sure i get flowers from every tulip planted. Charlie

  3. miranda alexander says:

    Wonderful first blog, Charlie, I look forward to many more to come. Did you replace the hurdles with netting fence to keep the rabbits out? Have just planted my annual seedlings at Frome st Quintin, and praying they don’t get gobbled up. It’s like watership down up here!

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Thank-you so much. Yes we replaced hurdles with some netting to keep everything out, we had a badger getting in over the winter. Oh golly i hope your annuals survive. Best wishes Charlie

  4. Sara says:

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures. Your garden is so gorgeous and well-organized. What plants are hiding under the cloches and the white cages? I’ve never seen those used in the U.S. Thanks again, Sara

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Sara. Some of them are just heating up the soil for the courgettes and the rest have salad greens under them, which we have been eating from for the last month. Best Charlie

  5. Deby (in Canada) says:

    Such wonderful pictures…and it looks so warm now- was freezing when we were up at Perrycroft for a few weeks-
    was as if someone turned a switch last Monday! Your spring garden has looked amazing, agree there can never be too many tulips- I looked through several times and tried to pick favourites- couldn’t!
    cheers Deby

  6. Carina Syms says:

    Charlie, Your garden is inspirational……mine is very new, so gleaning ideas wherever I can – I planted picking Tulips in my veg garden, but did it by the book and the spacing, and now realise I could have had about 10x as many, which is disappointing…… but there is always next year! Who do you recommend buying plants and bulbs from? Thanks so much for posting, can’t tell you how much pleasure the photographs bring…….

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Carina. New gardens are very exciting. I am so pleased to give you some inspiration.
      Yes do plant your tulips close together, you get so many more in and makes good use of small spaces.
      I would recommend ‘de eager’ for english grown bulbs. Thanks for all your lovely words. Best Charlie

  7. James Stanton says:

    Absolutely fabulous Charlie! I always look out for your Instagram posts as some sort of new inspiration for my garden… We’re gearing up for winter in Australia so I’m nearly ready to plant my tulips and hope that it gets cold enough for them this year in our crazy sub tropical weather. Sadly they don’t always do that well because of the heat and we tend to rely on jonquils and freesias along with dahlias and poppies to
    brighten the garden… Enjoy the rest of your colourful Spring beds!

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      James. Thank-you for your kind words. It makes me very happy that our garden is inspiring you. There is nothing like changing the planting around from time to time. I hope some of your tulips do come into flower this coming spring. It is so hard with your temperatures. Best Charlie

  8. Peter Barr says:

    Dear Charlie,
    Wonderful photographs! Who do you get your tulip bulbs from? I just wondered if you could recommend a particular supplier. I’m in the UK.
    Best wishes

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Peter. A great english supplier of bulbs is ‘de jager’. Hope this is help for the next spring. Best Wishes Charlie

  9. Stephanie Berry says:

    Stunning! What a show stopper!

  10. Katie Hyde says:

    Dear Charlie,
    I’ve really loved your gorgeous tulips on instagram and am intrigued as what varieties you planted (100s I’m sure) and which combinations you think have worked especially well together.
    Looking forward to more photos of your garden as the summer goes on.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Pleased to hear to have enjoyed the tulips on Instagram.
      If you send me an email with which tulips you particularly liked and i would be very happy to give you the names.
      Thank-you so much. Best Charlie

  11. Suzy says:

    Very very beautiful and, as so many others have commented, so inspiring. When did you become interested in gardening and realise you were so good at it?

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Suzy. Thank you for your kind comment. I am part of a very green fingered family, with all large country gardens in NZ. Out of my siblings i am the lucky one to have inherited the green finger gene, if there is such a thing. Best charlie

  12. Charlotte-Anne Griffiths says:

    Hello Charlie, I’ve loved following you on Instagram and am excited that we’ll now get to see more on the blog. It would be wonderful to have captions with your pictures so we know which tulip varieties you recommend and why – or even just a list of varieties you’ve loved this year. I’m feeling my way with mixing colours (sometimes not successfully!) and the bulb company brochures and websites aren’t always accurate – so your pictures are a great reference. And any tips you have on planting depths (ie do you layer them in the cutting garden or simply plant them close together?). Thank you! And the blog is beautifully designed, too – nice font! Charlotte x

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Charlotte. Thank-you Thank-you! As i also love following you on Instagram, yours is so enchanting and very inspiring. I will try my hardest to start naming the varieties. If there are any particular ones you like please do send me an email and i can send over the names.
      I completely agree with catalogues, the colours are never what the seem to be in the catalogue, some success and other duds.
      I plant mine very close together, the bulbs almost touching, which gives it mass look. I try to fit as many as i can fit into lines. This saves space for other things. I tend to plant them at around 6 – 8 inches.
      thanks for all your kind words. Charlie x

  13. Andrew says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. I’ve been experimenting with tulips the last two years, mostly in pots because our (fairly new) garden is tiny, and also quite shady during winter, so it’s good to shift the pots where the sun shines when we need to. But I have grown dahlias with some success so your comment about switching beds from tulips to dahlias and cosmos gives me something to think about for next year, as the few square yards of beds do look bare much of the year. I also find inspiration in your comments about planting bulbs so close, given I’m greedy for tulips (and narcissus Thalia …).

    A question, if I may: I have followed the instruction to plant bulbs, say, three times as deep as the size of the bulb, but if you were growing in pots, how much deeper/taller might you recommend the pots might be? I’ve some planter boxes that I think I want to fill with pots of tulips next year, but they are not very deep.

    Thank you! A beautiful garden. I shall be back.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Andrew. It makes me so happy about all your tulips and dahlias, they bring so much joy. I’m glad its inspired you to plant the bulbs close. Its amazing , you will never look back.

      As for your question. I would not worry about planting them to the exact depth recommended. They will almost grow in anything. as long as they have enough room to get their roots down and get all the nutrients in, they should do very well. I hope this is some help to you.

      Thank you so much. Best wishes Charlie

  14. Hannah says:

    Hi Charlie, I don’t suppose you give guided tours of your garden do you? I am completely in love with it and staying down your way for a few days!

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Hello Hannah, Sadly not at this stage. We are thinking of opening maybe next year but at this stage we are not sure. Hope your having a lovely time in the SW, best charlie

  15. Emilia says:

    Hi Charlie- this blog is bliss! Can you advise how you arrange your tulips as the arrangements are so natural and lovely. Thank you

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Hello Emilia, Thank you so much for your kind words. Very meaningful. No secret to arranging the tulips. they are just arrange in a mad rush as friends arrived foe the weekend. Hope your having a great week. Best Charlie

  16. Jane marshall says:

    hi Charlie,
    feeling very over excited at the prospect of a garden blog from you,especially so full of tips. I live in a proper four seasons part of aust. and plant tulips every year and leave them in the beds and take pot luck which seems to work but you have now inspired me to plant lots lots lots more. you have already had that effect on me in the dahlia dept. thank you!
    best, jane

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Hello Jane, Thank so much for all your lovely comments. Hope your having a great week. Charlie

  17. jane marshall says:

    i am highly over excited about another source of inspiration coming from team ben/charlie…….i thanked you every morning this past summer (i’m in oz) for the endless bunches of dahlias i picked and fingers crossed will do the same come spring with tulips, all thanks to you.

  18. Daryl A. Muller says:

    Hi Charlie!

    What a wonderful Monday lunch surpise to find your blog. I’ve been reading Ben’s each week for ages now – one day diving way back into the archives to catch up – and am so glad to see you have a website.

    While I do appreciate the advice on packing bulbs close together and planting new ones each year, I’m came looking for your scone recipe (congratulations on the win, btw and yes I do agree the loss at the flower contest was an abomination).

    Would you mind posting or sending along via email?

    Thank you in advance,

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Hello Dam. Thank you for you lovely comment. I have not Been on the blog for a few weeks as my camera sadly died but now its fixed.
      Sadly I’m not giving out my scone recipe at the moment, i need to decide whether to let the family secret out.

      Best wishes Charlie

  19. Madeline Lambert says:

    My parents used to live in the Old Parsonage in the 70’s. I was enthralled to see the article in the Telegraph, and the onto your website….I could hardly believe it was the same place! It looks amazing. Very glad to see the resurrected veg garden, I think it had “been let go”! I do visit the churchyard from time to time, any possibility I could pop in?

  20. Richard Cornett says:

    Thanks for your beautiful photos. I love tulips but cannot have them in Southwestern Virginia because of deer but who mercifully do not like dahlias. One question: it looks as if you have a lot of what we call English boxwood – is a blight affecting it in UK? Here most is dying. Also sadly, a blight has also killed the dogwood which was the glory of our spring; it seems to have missed Northern Va. and Eastern N.C. How close together to you plant the dahlias? Your gardening is a wonderful gift and inspiration.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Oh that is sad you cant have tulips, the deer sound as if they enjoy them very much. We sadly do have blight in England. We have had some of ours get blight but have been trying to get our soil health up and the box seems to be fighting it off. Its such a shame as many gardens have taken all their box out and replaced it with alternative hedging which isn’t the same. Its very sad. I did not realise about the Cornus, that does make me feel sad they are getting the blight.
      I plant my dahlias about 1 foot apart but some closer, If you plant them closer i would lift and divide. Planting them closer will give a much better impact. I hope this is of some help…. Thanks you for all your words. Its very kind of you to write. Many thanks and best wishes Charlie

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