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Monday, May 18, 2015

Another reason to love Michigan: Parrot Tulips!

It was a long wait through a cold Midwest winter but in the end I was rewarded. The tulip bulbs I planted last October weren't eaten by voles (underground) or deer (above ground). They didn't succumb to frost, snow, or freezing rain even though they were subjected to all three.

I just had to be patient, take precautions, and have a little faith that they would bloom as planned once the weather warmed up. Not that there weren't moments where I thought all was lost.

Like when Fred came in one morning and said it looked like my tulip buds were either being eaten by bugs or some kind of mold was growing on them. I ran out to check them and quickly realized that the parrot tulip buds weren't smooth and even like classic tulips, they were fringed along the edges lending to their diseased/damaged appearance Fred had observed. I LOL'ed and pulled up "Parrot Tulips" on Google images to show him what the flowers were going to look like. He just shook his head and said he'd never seen tulips like them before.

And this, this is what happened April 28th. . .

The first buds blossomed. I was thrilled! They were gorgeous. They definitely exceeded my expectations. Slowly, over the course of a week more varieties took my breath away. . . It's now May 18th and while the first orange ones are done most of the others are still blooming.

This is my favorite. The pink and green parrot tulips are stunning! The petals really do look like feathers. It's easy to see how they got their name.

Every petal, every gradation of color, even tiny raindrops delicately perched on each flower, so many tiny details, they're all a feast for the eyes.

So delicate and beautiful! The red and white tulips are very striking though slightly smaller in size than the others.

This was the only variety that changed colors. It was also the only one that had pink stripes running through the leaves before the flowers opened.

Originally the petals were light and dark pink, yellow, and had faint streaks of green.

But a week or so later the yellow and green dissipated leaving the tulips pink and white.

These were the only "double" variety I purchased. They are gorgeous and look like mini peonies.

This picture in particular really captures a feather texture even though technically this variety isn't a parrot tulip.

Above are pictures from the post about my visit to Veldheer's Tulip Garden in Holland, MI, the planting, and waiting process.

Once spring arrived there were plenty of mild days and quite a few cold nights that required protecting the buds right before they bloomed. Temperatures dipped down to freezing for an entire week! I made makeshift plastic covers that seemed to do the trick.

Finally the cold snap ended, I put the plastic away and then this happened. . .

For my first try at raising up fancy tulips I have to say I'm pretty pleased! The best part? Because it gets so cold here they'll probably come back on their own next year. In California you would have to dig them up and put them in the refrigerator for  weeks to create an artificial "cold period" allowing the bulbs to form their flowers for the following spring.

I am definitely going to have to get more bulbs this fall. While there are still many to enjoy in the yard I also ended up cutting and sharing a lot of them with my neighbors and have kept some in the house the past week. Next year I'd like to be able to give even more away!

To visit Veldheer's here's some helpful info. View more on their website linked below.

Veldheer's Garden Center & De Klomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory (website)
12755 Quincy St.
Holland, Michigan 49424 U. S. A.

616-399-1900 or 616-399-1803

Hours (EST)
9:OO AM to 5:00 PM - Mon/Fri
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM - Saturday
Closed - Sunday

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