Cool weather a blessing for blooms at Tulip Time


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time, the annual flower festival in Holland that celebrates Dutch heritage, is just days away — and that means all eyes are turning to this year’s blooms.

Rick Vuyst, the CEO of Flowerland, joined 24 Hour News 8 in studio Monday to talk about tulips and whether the flowers will be ready for the festival. He said conditions this spring are prime for tulips — there has been enough rain and it didn’t get too warm too early.

“The fascinating thing about tulips is that they require something we call vernalization,” Vuyst said. “And what that means is they need a cool resting period. So we plant them in fall and then we let them rest all winter long, because most are native to Mediterranean regions. In spring, as temperatures warm up, they start to grow. And if the temperatures are cooler, like we have in our forecast right now, it’s going to help hold those blossoms.”

Vuyst expects a “beautiful” Tulip Time. This year’s festival runs from May 6 to May 14.

Festival director Gwen Auwerda said the eight-day event attracts approximately 500,000 people to Holland. She expects the first weekend of Tulip Time to be the busiest.

Auwerda encourages visitors to download the Tulip Time app where they can create a custom itinerary for their visit, set up event alerts and find tulip hot spots. For full details, visit tuliptime.com.

If you’re working to protect your tulips from wild animals, Vuyst said you can try planting other flowers like daffodils in between the tulip bulbs and putting chicken wire in the soil so critters won’t dig up the bulbs.

==Watch our full interview with Vuyst above.==