Fifteen thousand tulips*. It sounds like we are planning the mother of all displays at Bayntun Flowers for Spring 2019, but in fact it will be a subtle and thoughtful representation of our main speciality crop. From diminutive Tulipa clusiana ‘Peppermintstick’ in the herbaceous borders and naturalised T. sprengeri in the fresh spring grass, to neat rows of Havran and La Belle Epoque in the walled garden and a plethora of antique containers bursting with different combinations, we will have cultivars from all fifteen different tulip groups. We can’t promise that they will all be flowering at the same time, neither nature nor our climate work like that, but we very much hope that our historic tulips will be at their best at the end of April.

Historic tulips are what we get most excited about.  Our first foray into the older varieties started a few years ago with the Rembrandt, or Broken tulips Columbine (dating from 1929), Absalon (1780) and Insulinde (1915), which are seen as genetically stable.  Since then we have expanded our range into both Dutch and English Breeder and Broken cultivars, in varying quantities from a very precious single bulb in the case of Juliet (a ‘rose’ breeder, 1845) to several hundred bulbs such as The Lizard (a distinctively shaped broken example, 1903).  They seem to like our freezing cold winters which provide the vernalization necessary to coax the bulbs into life, and our rich, black alluvial soil which encourages them to put down deep, healthy roots.  Over the past few years we have built up a collection of almost 50 different historic cultivars, including a small quantity of English Florists’ Tulips, the most prized of all.  The Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society have been intrinsic in helping us establish this collection, and we look forward to competing at their annual show at Primrose Hall in Wakefield next year.

Every single bulb has been carefully sourced and planted by hand, adhering to strict organic principles. We enter our conversion period with the Soil Association UK on 1st January 2019, but we have in fact been farming our flowers to organic standards for some years, and have had to make few concessions to our methods. The experts who we have chosen to collaborate with for Tulip Fever all aspire to the same sustainable ethos as Bayntun Flowers.

*Not quite the 7 million at Keukenhof admittedly. 

Anna Pavord, author of The Tulip, speaking at Blackland Park.

Anna Pavord, undeniably the world authority on tulips, will talk about the history of the tulip, and in particular the English Florists’ Tulip that we specialise in. She will illustrate her lecture with slides, and cut examples of our historic tulips. If you have never heard Anna speak before you have a treat in store. If you have heard her speak before you will want to hear more.

Shane Connolly, Florist by Royal Appointment to HM the Queen

Installation of Bayntun tulips on the bulb by Shane Connolly for 'Fashioned by Nature' at the V & A, 2018. Photography by Thomas Alexander.

Shane likes to get back to basics with his flower design. And his basic is simply nature. So our ancient tulip varieties, organically grown here at Bayntun Flowers, suit his ethos to perfection. He’ll show you how to arrange them simply, imaginatively and naturally, without floral foam or any other man- made device so their natural beauty can shine and the environment can breathe a sigh of relief! 

The Land Gardeners

Style queens and soil specialists Bridget Elworthy and Henrietta Courtauld of The Land Gardeners will tell you how they do it their way, explaining how they choose their favourite varieties of tulips to plant in pots, long grass, borders and for production. Their success is due not only to their inimitable taste and plant knowledge, but also to their expertise in creating microbially rich compost and soil health. Bayntun Flowers has worked in collaboration with them over the last two years to create their own compost both here and abroad. 

Electric Daisy Flower Farm 

Polly in an ornamental crown by Fiona Haser Bizony of Electric Daisy Flower Farm. Photography by Alma Haser.

In our furious world of consumption, the magic of truly ephemeral seasonality has high value. Tulips first cultivated in Turkey in the 10th century, have been in vogue ever since. They are the floral harbingers of spring, the beautiful Divas of the flower growing world who usher in the new season. They fire our imaginations and offer a powerful antidote to our stressful lives' Fiona Haser Bizony.

Fiona will create an extraordinary ornamental Tulip crown while discussing the role of tulips in the fashion world, and explaining how she has managed to establish a flourishing full-scale flower farm in an unbelievable 12 months.

Bayntun Flowers, Blackland Park, Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 8UQ

10 30 – 4 30 Thursday 25
th and Friday 26th April 2019

Drinks and Dinner 7 30pm on Thursday 25th April


£795, to be paid in full to secure a place. 

Fee payable at time of booking by BACS, please email polly@bayntunflowers.co.uk for further information and payment details.

What’s included:

Private access to the formal and productive gardens at Blackland Park, with tours by Polly Nicholson and head gardener Hannah Gardner, plant specialist and writer for Gardens Illustrated. 

Lectures, demonstrations, discussions and workshops with Anna Pavord, Shane Connolly, The Land Gardeners and Electric Daisy Flower Farm.

An informal tulip competition to be judged by Anna Pavord – bring your own. A list of rules and regulations will be sent upon booking.

A bucket of historic tulips to take home with you.

Tea, coffee, organic, homemade cakes and lunch on both days, Drinks and dinner on Thursday evening.

Full directions and a list of local hotels and B & Bs can be provided on request.

Please be aware that we have a strict no-refund policy.