Kaleidoscope of colours! Heads of 25 MILLION tulips chopped off

Mesmerising pictures reveal kaleidoscope of colours after the heads of 25 MILLION tulips at Britain’s last remaining bulbfields are chopped off to make next year’s crop even BIGGER

  • Fields near King’s Lynn made Norfolk landscape look like something from a Disney movie with all the colours
  • But sadly, after just a few days, the fabulous flowers have been cut off in their prime to make next year’s better
  • Belmont Nurseries grown tulips for 20 years and supply more than 25 million stems to supermarkets per year

The tulips in Britain’s last remaining bulbfields have put on an amazing spectacle for the past week – but now nearly all the 25 million heads are being chopped off.

But sadly, after just a few days, the fabulous flowers have been cut off in their prime so the plant’s energy can go into making the bulbs bigger for next year’s crop.

‘We have to remove the tulip heads so all the goodness will go back into the bulbs, rather than the flowers,’ said farmer Mark Eves, whose in-laws Janet and Peter Ward own Belmont Nurseries, which is Britain’s biggest tulip bulb producer.

Fields turned the Norfolk landscape into an incredible kaleidoscope of colours when the magnificent crop of tulips bloomed

The tulips in Britain’s last remaining bulbfields in King’s Lynn have put on an amazing spectacle for the past week

‘We have to cut the heads off the tulips before the petals fall off.’

Belmont Nurseries has been growing tulips for 20 years and supplies more than 25 million stems to supermarkets each year. They hire four fields in Norfolk, which have slightly sandy soil, and rotate them on an annual basis.

Peter Ward, who has worked in horticulture since he was 17, began the business 20 years ago and felt he could grow tulips as well as the Dutch. They now grow 37 different varieties and introduce new ones each year.

The fabulous flowers have been cut off in their prime so the plant’s energy can go into making bulbs bigger for next year’s crop

Belmont Nurseries has been growing tulips for 20 years and supplies more than 25 million stems to supermarkets each year

The heads are left in rows in the field to rot, while the leaves and stalks are left to decompose and the bulbs finally removed from the soil in June

A machine is used to guillotine the tulip heads from the stalks and a group of five pickers follow behind to remove any which are missed.

The heads are left in rows in the field to rot, while the leaves and stalks are left to decompose and the bulbs finally removed from the soil in June. They will then be taken to Belmont Nurseries near King’s Lynn, where they will be sorted. 

The larger bulbs are then planted indoors to grow tulips out of season and the smaller bulbs are planted outdoors for next year’s crop. ‘The process usually takes a couple of weeks,’ added Mr Eves.

A machine is used to guillotine the tulip heads from the stalks and a group of five pickers follow behind to remove any which are missed

The larger bulbs are planted indoors to grow tulips out of season and the smaller bulbs are planted outdoors for next year’s crop

At the beginning of the 20th century more than 3,000 acres of tulips were grown in Norfolk and Lincolnshire but today this has diminished to just 35 hectares.

Tulips first arrived in Britain in 1907 when Frederick Culpin brought in 100 bulbs of six different varieties and established the British tulip fields.

By 1935 more than 300 people were visiting the fields, arriving from London by train and bus to witness the coming of spring.

Tulips first arrived in Britain in 1907 when Frederick Culpin brought in 100 bulbs of six different varieties and established the British tulip fields

This number had increased to more than 100,000 people by 1949 and special daily sightseeing routes were established to enable the visitors to see the best of the day’s blooming flowers.

But in more recent years many tulip growers have been forced to convert their land to more profitable vegetable and cereal crops and Belmont Nurseries is now the only tulip grower left in Britain.

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