Winter weather a promising sign for Tulip Time

7:27 PM, Jan 31, 2013   |    comments
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HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - Organizers of Tulip Time are hoping for beautiful blossoms this year after warm weather in 2012 caused the crop to bloom early. However, this year farmers are expecting a different outcome.

Tulip farmer Jim Veldheer says the cold weather and a blanket of snow is helping the tulips stay tucked in their flower beds, especially compared to 2012.

"The tulips would have stood four to five inches tall, but this year the tulips are all below ground," says Veldheer, President of Veldheer Tulip Gardens.

During last year's Tulip Time Festival, there were T-shirts with "Stemfest" written across them, because warmer temperatures caused early blooms.

"It's a day and night difference, this time last year we were already two to four weeks ahead of schedule, so this cold weather has kept us right where we need to be," says Veldheer.

Veldheer says the snow also helps prevent the flowers from getting too cold.

"Anytime you have a pack of snow on the ground, it'll actually draw the frost out of the ground slightly, and give them a warmer ground base," says Veldheer.

The city parks department says the tulips usually start blooming first in downtown Holland, because the snow melting system makes for warmer temperatures. However, even downtown the tulip beds are still covered in snow.

City leaders says many people are already thinking about next year's festival.

"We've had a lot of phone calls, as well as Tulip Time office downtown, with people inquiring," says Andy Kenyon, Superintendent of the Holland Parks and Cemetery Department.

"This will increase the size of blossom, it will help the bulb be a better, stronger bulb for the 2013 season," says Veldheer.

The city parks department says if normal weather patterns last, the flowers should begin blooming in mid-April.

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