Annual planting of tulips helps enhance Dover

 

Tulips, planted by city staff, have started to spring up all around Dover. (Special to the Delaware State News photo by Gary Emeigh)

Tulips, planted by city staff, have started to spring up all around Dover. (Special to the Delaware State News photo by Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — One of the surest signs of spring is warm weather and flowers blooming, especially the tulips brightening flower beds and spirits around town.

Even though some haven’t popped open yet, the city of Dover’s Grounds Department hopes to see that change by the end of April.

“You can see the head of some of them,” said Chris Kohout, temporary grounds fill supervisor. “Everything is on track. Some have started to show a couple of weeks earlier than expected, but within the next couple of weeks the tulips should start fully blossoming.

“They should really be noticeable when Dover Days comes around.”

Planned for May 1-3, Dover Days is one of Delaware’s longest-running events that celebrate the state’s history.

Lorraine J. Dion, Kent County Tourism director of public relations and special events, said the tulips heighten the festive atmosphere during the event.

“They add a lot to our historical attractions downtown,” Ms. Dion said. “When the tulips start blooming that means spring is here. They add a vibrant feel to the city.”

On the Monday following the Dover Days Festival, all the tulips are removed and replaced by new bulbs.

“As soon as Dover Days is over is when we start planting,” Mr. Kohout said. “During that time people can grab some for their own personal reasons, but we start that process immediately.”

Ms. Dion said the tulip pulling seems to be a big deal among residents.

“I have never done that, but I know a lot of people who have,” Ms. Dion said. “People call our office trying to figure out when that happens. People seem to be really into it.”

In addition to the thousands of flowers planted, the nursery staff hangs flower baskets along Loockerman Street in the spring. The baskets and annuals kept in the greenhouse need to be watered by employees at least every other day until they are ready to go outside.

13dsn tulips_3806

The city of Dover plants more than 25 varieties of flowers across town, including 55,000 tulips. (Special to the Delaware State News photo by Gary Emeigh)

The advance work is necessary as the city plants more than 25 varieties of flowers across town, including 55,000 tulips. That’s 5,000 less than last year.

“We had to make some cuts,” Mr. Kohout said. “With the economy being down we went from planting 60,000 to 55,000 tulips. That’s not a significant decrease, but it’s still a drop off.”

It takes from October through mid-December to plant all the tulip bulbs. They are planted early because the bulbs need an extended amount of time in cool soil, along with time for their roots to spread before they can bloom.

The tulips are purchased each year from Holland — the world’s tulip growing capital, but other varieties of flowers are raised in the city’s greenhouse near Legislative Hall. Annuals grown in the greenhouse include petunias, marigolds and geraniums, all of which are planted in February.

Once transferred from the greenhouse to the flower beds around the city, the annuals will be in bloom all summer.

“They seem to set their own pace,” Mr. Kohout said. “There’s no real time table on it. We plan everything out in the fall and they seem to always come out at the right time.”

E-mail comments to newsroom@newszap.com.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment