Artisan tulips vs the supermarkets

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Our resident flower farmer Charlotte Tombs loves tulips. A lot. And she has something she needs to get off her chest …

Tulip La Belle Epoque
All images: Charlotte Tombs

Supermarket tulips are cheaper than artisan tulips. It’s a fact, and I’m not arguing with it.
But … I’m going to be straight with you.
The supermarket ones are hydroponically grown – they haven’t been near a speck of soil. They are mass produced and then wrapped in single use plastic. Some of these tulips are fed with growth inhibitors (that’s why they don’t open up in the vase and just sort of dry out as they die). Artisan tulips, on the other hand, will open up to their natural, glorious conclusion.

Artisan tulips vs the supermarket version


I spend a lot of time, effort and money choosing my tulips for colour, shape and perfume … when has a supermarket tulip ever smelled amazing?
Take a look at the image, right. On the left are some of my pale pink artisan tulips that have been planted and cared for in the ground. Look at that stem length and the size of the head compared to the red supermarket tulips next to them!

The two-foot tall Tulip Big Love


In the full page image opposite are La Belle Epoque, an absolutely beautiful double tulip, and one of my own favourites.
Do note that tulips continue to grow in the vase and can change direction from where you carefully placed them! You can also see that they are loose and opening up – you just don’t see this from the supermarket ones.
The burstingly pink tulips below left are Big Love. They grow to nearly two foot tall with a head the size of your fist in that most amazing lipstick pink. They are another of my personal favourites. Other varieties to look out for are Brownie, Silk Road and Amazing Parrot, which goes from pink to orange.
Tulip Negrita is a great perennial tulip – it really does come back year after year. Last but not least is Foxy Foxtrot – almost worth buying for the name alone. It’s a gorgeous double yellow tulip that turns pink with darker yellow flashes.

A selection of Charlotte’s artisan tulips

See Charlotte’s Insta here to see what she’s picking at the farm near Wimborne (contact her via northcombe.co.uk), or try flowersfromthefarm to find a flower grower near you

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