Ripe for the picking
The tulips are already in full bloom and the visitor services manager at Wellington’s Botanic Gardens is hoping they’ll still look good on Tulip Sunday, September 30, the opening event of the annual Spring Festival. The mild wet weather in recent months has caused most of the 25,000 tulip bulbs to bloom early. Last year they bloomed late.
“Setting the date for Tulip Sunday is only ever a best guess,” Scott explains. “Once upon a time the head gardener would keep an eye tulip beds and each Spring decide the date of Tulip Sunday. Now we have a whole festival around the day we can’t do that anymore.”
Planning for each Tulip Sunday begins at least a year in advance. Gardeners are already planning designs and varieties for 2013. Bulbs are sourced each year from Invercargill, “where tulips grow best” and are bedded in the Botanic Gardens in April and May.
“They really then just look after themselves. We just have to keep an eye on them and keep the beds weeded.”
This year’s display of 25,000 tulips includes at least a dozen varieties. Old favourites like the red tulip, Ile de France, are still there along with new varieties.
Tulip Sunday opens two weeks of Spring Carnival events. There are the popular events of previous carnivals such as the cemetery tours and the grow your own workshops, but this year also features new ones, like the junior apprentice gardener, where children aged seven to 12 will learn plant growing secrets from the experts.
Tulip Sunday, Main Garden, Wellington Botanic Gardens, from 11am, September 30.
Wellington Spring Festival, September 30 to October 7