That was the lovely greeting I got when I felt well enough to return to the April meeting of The Hardy Plant Society in Lincoln. And true to form, I took along several pots of Tulips for the plant sales stall. Then in May, Derek (who grew up in this cottage; then known as The Mill House) and his wife Doreen also took me along to a gathering of The Cottage Garden Society near to Spalding where we had a most interesting talk about how the bulb industry got started in Lincolnshire. It was initiated by a local shopkeeper who collected and sold snowdrops at the cattle markets. And this eventually led to the huge tulip growing fields and then on to daffodils, which are now the only bulbs still harvested, and the famous Spalding Flower Show also closed down a couple of years ago, mainly because it had become a very expensive event to run and there were less and less volunteers to help produce the floats.
The owner of the garden centre that we met in has created a most iinteresting museum about the bulb industry and I really enjoyed looking round it. One item that really caught my attention were the wooden sieves, which could be fitted with bases of three different sizes. This was the first time I had heard anything in deatail about how tulips develop, and today I was reminded of this excellent day out when I spent hours beside one of my raised beds with Deborah sorting out the spent tulips, which will be dried and stored prior being planted up again in November. What was one bulb when Reg placed them in pots, is now three bulbs in gradable sizes.