The children and I absolutely love Miffy so we were really excited to hear that after 15 years of cross-fertilisation and patient cultivation, Dutch tulip breeders have finally produced a variety to represent the Netherlands' most famous children's character.
The Miffy tulip is deep red in colour and it is a perfect match to the shade that Dutch illustrator Dick Bruna used in the much loved storybooks over 60 years ago. The cultivation process started in 2001 when tulip breeder Ligthart Bloembollen cross-fertilised two varieties to achieve the right shade and form required, then it was a question of waiting for vegetative reproduction to take place.
By 2014, Ligthart had created a cultivated area of 50m² at which point the company sold the variety under a code name to a company called Pennings de Bilt in Breezand. They are now aiming to increase the area to supply enough Miffy bulbs for sale at retail in 2017/18.
Marja Kerkhof, MD of Mercis, Dick Bruna's publishing company said, "We are nearing the end of a long, special journey working with some of our country's most talented tulip growers to produce the special Miffy tulip. I am looking forward to the moment when the variety is on sale to the general public, which hopefully will be next year."
This year, there are only 2,500 Miffy bulbs in existence and we were really lucky to receive a pack of five bulbs to plant ourselves! We don't have a proper garden with grass so the children don't really have a lot of gardening experience, although C does like watering the flowers at preschool when he needs a little break from the noise levels indoors. Luckily, we didn't need a grass area to plant these and we decided to use little pots instead.
Both children had so much fun getting messy with the soil, popping their tulip bulbs in and topping with more soil. C has been a little impatient and keeps asking if they've grown yet! They both are enjoying taking care of their little plants and making sure that they are watered daily. I will be sharing their changes over my social media accounts so please keep an eye out - I'm so excited!
We received a copy of the Miffy's Garden book too which I think is getting them even more excited. I think they've caught the bug now and we will definitely be making sure we plant some more bulbs of different varieties.
Some of the 2,500 Miffy bulbs have been planted in the world famous Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands. It will be open from March 23rd until May 21st 2017 and you will be able to see them growing in the Keukenhof's Walk of Fame and also in the Miffy garden located in the park.