At the beginning of each year, our garden team is already hard at work preparing for the first planting of the year in January at the Silos—tulips and daffodils. Our team begins months in advance to ensure the flowers are blooming by spring, so we sat down with them to hear more about their process and strategy.
THE TEAM’S PLANTING PROCESS
This year, the team planted 10 varieties of tulips and 2 varieties of daffodils on the Silos grounds. The type of varieties that the team chooses and plants changes slightly each year. The bulbs arrive cooled to prevent them from sprouting roots before they are planted. Our garden team aims to plant the bulbs the day they are delivered for that reason. In total 12,000 bulbs were ordered this year, so it was a full few days of planting!
THREE PLANTING STRATEGIES
Before they begin, the team adds new soil and compost into the beds to keep them healthy. They then use one of three planting methods to bury the bulbs:
Bouquet: A large hole is dug in the soil, and 15-30 bulbs are placed inside, making sure they aren’t all on top of one other. Using this method results in the tulips coming up together like a bouquet.
Even Spread: The goal here is to create an "even spread" of blooms. The bulbs are spread out and then covered with 3-6 inches of soil.
Sprinkling: The objective for the sprinkling method is for the bulbs to be planted among existing plants in whatever space is available. A skinny shovel is used to move the dirt, and a single bulb is placed into that hole, then covered with dirt.
From there, the timeline and even whether or not the bulbs will sprout is up to the weather. There’s so much anticipation involved as they wait for the flowers to grow.
With natural variations in the weather, sometimes the tulip bulbs took longer than the daffodils to bloom, but when they finally do, we’re excited to see the added color they bring to the Silos grounds.
After the tulips and daffodils bloom, the team uses both hand watering and irrigation systems to keep them happy. The flowers usually last until around Easter before they wilt. Next January, this planting process will start all over again!
Our garden team does such a great job showcasing the beauty of the season in every corner of the Silos grounds. We’re thankful for their hard work in making our gardens spring-ready for visitors that come from near and far. We hope you get the chance to see these blooms in person this Spring!