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Tulip open days at Lancashire nursery

Flower power with Matthew Smith of Brighter Blooms
Flower power with Matthew Smith of Brighter Blooms
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City nursery Brighter Blooms will live up to its name this weekend when it opens its doors for a special tulip event.

The Walton le Dale nursery on the outskirts of Preston is usually open by appointment only. But visitors will be welcome to two special Tulip Open Days from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday April 14 and 15.

Award winning proprietor Matthew Smith, who has scooped gold at the Chelsea Flower Show for the past three years, is now hoping for a sunshine filled week to coax his blooms into full flower before the weekend.

He said: “I aim to have 50 varieties in flower. They will be displayed mainly outside in the garden and allotment area.”

He explained that he usually takes his tulips to the Cardiff RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) spring flower show, but has long held the ambition to have a tulip display on home ground.

He said: "I decided this year rather than take the display down there, we would finally commit to do it at the nursery. It'a brand new thing. We've been working towards it for the last four or five years. I saw a display garden of tulips in Belgium and I really liked what they had done and wanted to do something similar. It's laid out in a reasonably formal way so people can wander round and make lists of what they like."

As for personal preferences Matthew, who took a horticulture degree at Lancashire's Myerscough College, said: "There are so many to go at. I'm quite a big fan of ' Princess Irene' which is orange with a bit of purple at the throat with greyish green foliage. It's a sturdy 14 inches tall."

There will also be displays of container grown salad and cold tolerant salad varieties with the chance to buy potted up tulips and order bulbs for the autumn, purchase summer flowering bulbs and the nursery's other speciality Zantedeschia (Canna) rhizomes.

Hot drinks and cakes will be available in aid of local charity the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.

Brighter Blooms is at Walton Flats Nursery, Gillibrand Street.