Tiptoe through the…

Hands up all those who could sing the song. Maybe like me you could manage the first line – the song incidentally is almost a hundred years old – composed in 1929, so no excuses you’ve had plenty of time to learn it.

The flowers though are something different. They have been around for much longer. My old dad always reckoned they came from China – or somewhere in the Far East. Certainly they were grown in Southern Europe in the Middle Ages and were smuggled in to Holland by a sixteenth Flemish botanist called Charles de l’Ecluse. I gather the Dutch rather took a fancy to them – and “good for the Dutch” if I may say so. They are in fact my favourite flower of all.

I seem to remember that we grew them in the garden at home when I was a boy. As those of you who know me will testify my knowledge of flowers is not great, but I could always recognise tulips, Until I was 12, I thought they were called Lupins and to this day I will in conversation call the flowers by the wrong name. My mother was horrified when she found out and encouraged me to sign up for a school trip to the Dutch bulb fields.

My trip to Holland was a great success. We went to all the special places in that country like Marken and Volendam; we toured the canals in Amersterdam and did the compulsory visit to a diamond works. Sadly though spring was late that year and the tulips had not emerged. I think I learnt more about the red-light district of Amsterdam than I did about red tulips.

However my love of the flowers continues and they are one of the bulbs we grow in the garden to this day. My wife has educated me in how to plant them – she perseveres with the names of them – and in fact one or two of the names stick. I like Parrot- Tulips and she doesn’t. She likes Lily-Flowered and I like tulips to have the more traditional pear shape.

However here is my selection of photographs for this year. Most of the images have been taken in the last few weeks. My thanks to the lady and gentleman who allowed me to take photographs in their private garden and to my project manager who tells me “you ought to go to…” but somehow never winds up carrying my tripod!

A great team – have a splendid weekend