Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tulip Festival, Ottawa
Green Thumb Sunday

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Tulips and crab apple blossoms

The tulip festival is held annually in our nation's capital, Ottawa. Following is a briskly written and researched journey into some things tulip (relatives visiting).

History of the Tulip Festival

100, 000 tulip bulbs were presented to Canada by Princess Juliana of the Netherlands in 1945 to thank them for providing their citizens with safe haven during WWII.

They were pretty. People came, people told others, soon a festival grew up around them.

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Rainbow of tulips. The purple one is called Holland Cherry. Next time I will take notes, but I believe the orange stripey ones were Hermitage.

Tulip Festival Now

Planted in great swatches of colour, these tulips attract visitors, and their cameras, from all over the world. Here are some of their backsides.

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Where are the tulips? There are tulips here right?

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These pink and white tulips are called strawberry and cream - it's all in the name...

Now, it has more than just flowers, but the usual assemblage of vendors, buskers, and music. They even have a forest of wooden painted tulips.

Species Tulips

These are short, vigorous tulips that perennialize well. As the name suggests, they are genetically close to their mother plants (though may be minimally crossed) which have originated in the Middle East.

Check out this wikipedia entry for more details.

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Tulip mouth

Hybrid Tulips

Most of the ones that we gardeners buy are hybridized tulips which some complain lose their vigour after a couple years. (I have some long, red stemmed tulips that were just crowded - we are talking 100s of bulbs in a 1 foot square space. When I moved them around, most grew and flowered. I presume these were hybrids but they were planted by the original owners who knows when).

How many of the original 100,000 are left I wonder? How long do tulips live?

Sadly, I can't answer these questions today, but fear not, there will be another festival, another time to write about tulips!

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The white are called tres chic

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A twinned tulip.

Tulips Propogation

Members of the lily family, they can reproduce by offsets (all kinds) as well as by seed (not all).

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All alone in a sea of red.


Floridata on tulips
Growing tulips from seed.

Other blog with tulip festival posts:

Garden Gremlin


jodi said...

I first saw the tulips in full, amazing bloom in spring of 1974 or 75; last spring I was in Ottawa for almost a week as we were holding our annual conference of the Professional Writers Association of Canada there. What a lovely city to be in mid-May! You may remember it was very warm that middle week, and indeed some of the tulips were past their peak, but I had a chance to get down to the Rideau Canal area and admire the seas of tulips. Thank you for your photos and for taking me down that happy memory lane.

Kate said...

Great photos ... I enjoyed seeing the tulip pics. That was one of my favourite times of the year in Ottawa ... especially when the tulips were still in bloom during the Tulip Festival. The twinned whites are adorable.

It strikes me how we file things far in our memories and when we have a reminder of them, there is a definite pang of longing still.

Patrick said...

Nice pictures, and a nice story to go along with it.

Gardenista said...

I just can't imagine all the work that goes into planting and maintaining all those tulips! Regarding growing tulips from seed, my species tulips seeded themselves all over, but I wonder how long it will take them to flower? They look like little blades of grass at the moment.