As of this writing, on the south side of the Information Windmill in Central Plaza there are a few yellow tulips that have bloomed. And I have it on good authority that with the warmer temperatures (especially the overnight temperatures) this week there is a really good chance we will have tulips in full bloom for Tulip Time! And with any luck the tulips will remain snow free this year.
In order to get the beautiful tulips at Tulip Time each year, the planning begins well over a year ahead. There is research, planning, decisions and ordering to be done. Every bed is carefully planned. The tulip bulbs are shipped directly from Holland suppliers when they are in their prime. This is one of the reasons they are order new each year. In addition, the pattern and placement of the tulips changes each year. There are 104,000 bulbs in 65 different varieties. There is everything from the ever popular Giant Orange Sunset Tulips to the new Ice Cream Tulips. For 2014 these can both be found in Central Park.
In the Fall of 2013 the bulbs were planted. It took about 40 volunteers in addition to city workers to get the job done. Some of the volunteers were high school students from Pella Christian and Pella Community Schools. It is a carefully orchestrated process in order for the plans to come to life. Every once in a while there is an “oops” and you will a bulb that got dropped out of place. When you see one red tulip among an entire bed of yellow then you know you have found an “oops.”
Of course every bed of tulips will be beautiful, but one that Parks Manager Chandler Nunnikoven is especially excited to see some into bloom is the Quilt Block Bed. It will look like one of your grandmother’s quilts and can be seen north of the Information Windmill in Central Plaza. It took 8,000 bulbs in 5 different varieties (Mistress, Like String of Pearls Mix, Flaming Kiss, Ruby Prince, Purple Flag) to make the Quilt Block Bed. Be sure to look for it during Tulip Time.