Thousands of tulips bring spring joy near King’s Lynn

Farmer Mark Eves in his field of tulips at Blackborough End. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Farmer Mark Eves in his field of tulips at Blackborough End. Picture: Matthew Usher.

They erupt into flower and trail a blaze of colour across the countryside. But just as they boom into bloom, these thousands of tulips will be gone in a flash.

They have been grown across more than 100 acres of fields in Blackborough End, near King's Lynn. But by the end of the week, the flowers will all have been cut – with not one of them ending up in the shops.

Instead, the heads – which are removed by machine – are simply thrown away.

The tulips – which have been in flower for around three weeks – are grown by family-run nursery PS&JE Ward, based at Terrington St Clement, the only bulb grower left in the UK.

Because the market for tulips in British supermarkets is from Christmas through to around May, there is no demand for flowers at this time of year.

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Rather, these plants are grown for their bulbs. So once the top 5cms are cut, the rest of the plant is left to fall back down to the ground, its nutrients returning to the earth.

The bulbs are then removed in June or July. They are then sorted – with many undergoing a heat treatment, to speed up their growing process – and then planted, so they can flower in time for the Christmas and spring markets.

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Mark Eves, 46, a director at the firm – pictured here with dog, Phoebe – said: 'Not one of these flowers will be sold. The best to be hoped for is that I might take a bunch home for my wife.'

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