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Gardens spring-loaded with tulips

4 May 2005

Gardens spring-loaded with tulips

You can rely on Wellington Botanic Garden staff to fight back the gloom of winter with a dazzling spring display of tulips.

Gardeners are now planting 24,000 tulip bulbs, including a mass planting of the largest flower bed on Monday 9 May.

“The popular mixed display the public loved so much last year is going in again this year,” says Botanic Gardens Manager David Sole.

Five thousand bulbs in ten different colours will be planted in one bed along the back drive in the main garden. Ten or 11 gardeners will be involved in the mass planting, weather permitting, and this bed is expected to be a blaze of colour from mid-September to mid-October.

This year sees the return of four varieties – “Kees Nelice” (red with a yellow edge), “Parade” (signal red), “Golden Parade” (yellow) and “London” (darkest scarlet) – that haven’t been seen in the Garden since the early 90s. Two new varieties, “Princess Irene” (purple) and “White Marvel” (crisp white), will be making their debut.

Thousands of people flock to the Botanic Garden each spring to enjoy what is believed to be New Zealand’s biggest and best public tulip display. “The display is quite historic, there’s been an annual display for over 30 years – the public expect it,” Mr Sole says.

“This year we’ve got 18 varieties going in and visitors to the Botanic Garden can expect to see the first blooms by the end of August.” he says. “They are always the highlight of the Spring Festival – on this year from 24 September to 9 October.”

Tulips are most commonly associated with Holland where they have been extensively cultivated since the early 17th century. Wellington City Council gets its bulbs from Southland, where they are grown from Dutch stock.


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