Giving Thanks…for Turkey & Tulips

turkeydayIt’s finally here! Thursday is Thanksgiving and that means time with family and friends, time to rest, time to reflect and time for turkey. The Tulip Time staff will be spending the holiday all over the US,  from the West to East side of Michigan, Arizona to Ohio and place in between. While Thanksgiving is a wonderful tradition filled with food, family and friends it is also a time to reflect and give thanks.Here’s a small look into what the Tulip Time staff is thankful for this holiday season.

Gwen: “I am thankful for family and the fact that we live in a free country where we can celebrate holidays such as Thanksgiving.  I also love the wonderful comfort food that we get to eat on Thanksgiving Day, a treat for sure.”

Susan: “I am very thankful to be spending thanksgiving with my parents. With nearly 2,000 miles between us I don’t get to see them very often and as they get older this is becoming more and more important. My family is very close even though we are in 3 time zones.”

Nicole: “This Thanksgiving I am thankful for a healthy pregnancy…… and all the sweets that are around and the coziness/warmth of a wood stove!”

Chris: “I am thankful for… FAMILY, my grandkids (including a new one I’ll get to meet real soon!!), chocolate, and Sunshine!”

Kara: “I’m thankful for life, laughter, sunshine, and sunsets… and of course my family!”

Hannah: “I am thankful for my family, especially Lida and her ideas, since now I have a job. Also, I’m thankful for pasta….”

Julian: “I’m thankful for the help and support that always seems to appear when it’s needed the most.”

Mary: “My daughter, my friends, my family, my health,  my house, my job, my camera, and my coffee.”

 Kate: “Each year, around this time, I am super busy meeting with all our partners to secure sponsorship for Tulip Time operations. I get to sit down with each supporting business and talk about their business, how they enjoyed the last Tulip Time and what is going on with their “family” of employees. It strikes me this year that I get to know these companies, their stories, their history and get to tell their story alongside Tulip Time’s.

This is a honor. I am thankful for it.

I feel like Tulip Time has a family that is larger than we even realize. Its stories of parades with your mom and dad. It’s dressing your kiddos up in costumes and taking pictures. Almost everyone makes time as a family to go eat Ollie bollen or Elephant Ears at least once during Tulip Time. It’s family time.  We get to help create family time. This is an honor. I am thankful for it.

The smile on a CEO’s face when she recalls the times her mom dressed her in a dorky costume and she scowled through picture taking (back when there was film to waste) and her ironic joy in doing the same to her own offspring – I get to hear these stories and we get to bring them to life. I think it was a few years back when I realized that Tulip Time was that moment for most people. The moment when memories are made and crazy stories happen. Everybody’s got a Tulip Time story – even people who’ve never been! I grew up and still live in Grand Rapids (I know! I know!) and even I heard the horror stories of people getting arrested for damaging tulips. BTW – URBAN LEGEND! Don’t tell.  – See? Everyone has a Tulip Time story. I am thankful that I get to bring people together to make it happen.

So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a community of people that come together to make one crazy party of family memories happen. I am thankful for 150+ businesses that invest, 100+ members that donate, 3000+ volunteers that pull it all together so that families from all over the world can crack up looking at old photos, tell the story of the time Uncle Henk picked a tulip while watching for the cops, and how they helped their college buddy propose to his girlfriend while she Dutch Danced. I’m thankful that we have those stories to tell. I’m thankful for Tulip Time.”

Carra: “The holidays tend to be a very busy time of year for my family with many places to go and loved ones to see. This year I am putting aside the stress of having to travel to and fro. I am thankful for having so many places to be over the holiday. I am thankful for having a vast number of people who love and care about me in my life. This year instead of stressing about the schedule I am spending time focusing on the blessing that is within that stress. The blessing of having family and friends to spend the holidays with.”

Now that we have shared what we are giving thanks for this holiday season we encourage you to share!



Show Spotlight: The Bretts


Entertainment for Tulip Time 2015 is set and we are excited to have an amazing lineup. Every few weeks we will spotlight one of our amazing acts to give you an inside look into the show. Straight from Branson, Missouri The Bretts Show is a high-energy production filled with singing, dancing, comedy and so much more!

Join the Brett Family as they perform musical numbers that are sure to delight and entertain. As one of Branson, Missouri’s most popular shows and declared a “must see”, The Bretts Show is sure to offer Tulip Time goers a great evening of family fun and “A Good Time”!

The Bretts Show will be coming to Tulip Time Thursday, May 7th at 7pm. Tickets are available for purchase on our website,, by phone, 616-396-4221 or swing into the office. Give a gift that keeps giving in May for the holidays!


Tuesday’s Top Tickets


November 3 was the start to a special week for Tulip Time Members! For this week, and this week only, individuals and families who are part of the Tulip Time Membership program get first crack at tickets for the 2015 Festival entertainment line-up. With headliners like comedian, Bill Engval, magician and illusionist, Jay Mattioli, and Chicago’s The Second City, who wouldn’t want exclusive access?

Not a member? Not to worry, by joining the Tulip Time Membership program TODAY you gain access to purchase tickets for 2015 Tulip Time entertainment instantly. Visit our webpage and SIGNUP online!  Through our membership program, you not only gain early access but also support the continuation of Tulip Time.

Each year Tulip Time and Holland plays host to 500,000 festival participants, both locals and guests. Joining our membership program helps to fund the unseen expenses of Tulip Time and provides you with insider access! Be the first to know Tulip Time related news, receive invitations to member exclusive events, such as our BloomBoom Firework Viewing Party, and learn about unique opportunities to get involved in 2015!

We couldn’t put on this great Holland tradition without the help of our Tulip Time community. Our membership program is a great way to stay active in festival happenings and support our mission of “… inviting the world to join the dance as we celebrate our Dutch heritage with a festival showcasing our dynamic community and its spectacular tulips.”


A Tulip Math Lesson

You may wonder, how do we do it? How is it that 6 million tulips are planted yearly in Holland, Michigan for Tulip Time.  Well, our friends at Windmill Island Gardens share a little piece of our secret!

Did you do the math? 55,000 tulip bulbs are planted on the Island in about 6 hours. That is approximately 153 tulip bulbs per minute and 2.5 bulbs per second! Amazing, right?

Special thanks to the City of Holland and Windmill Island Gardens for sharing this great video and helping us make Holland, MI one of the most beautiful places on earth! Until next time!

Tips and Tricks to Keeping Your Garden Safe


We only have 8 days left in October and planting season is coming to a dramatic close in Holland, MI. The trees are vibrant, the leaves are falling and the tulips are in their beds ready for a long snooze- if only the dear and squirrels would leave them alone!

Having a problem with certain critters visiting the garden is common, especially when planting tulip bulbs. Have no fear, we have found your guide to keeping garden free of fury visitors thanks to 

Outsmarting the Squirrels: Tips for a Critter-Free Garden

“WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., November 1, 2012 – Want a gorgeous garden of spring blooms but concerned that squirrels, deer and other pests might ruin the plan? Follow these suggestions to keep prying paws and hooves at bay.

Offend their Senses

  • Smartest bulb choice – daffodils and other narcissi. Squirrels and deer generally don’t like their taste. You can also plant them as a border surrounding other precious bulbs you’d like to protect.
  • Squirrels and deer can’t stand the skunky gym socks smell of Fritillaria imperialis bulbs. Interplant these tall, dramatic flowers to ward them off and protect your other bulbs.
  • Other types of fall bulbs that are considered deer resistant are: alliums, camassia and chionodoxa. Most packages will identify if the bulb is deer resistant as well.
  • Deer don’t like thorny things. They also don’t eat anemones, astilbes, junipers, foxgloves, ferns and grasses, to name a few. So you could effectively cordon off your garden by planting some of these suggestions.

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Clean-Up Duty

  • Once you are done planting, clean up the garden area. Remove any mulch, planting tools and bulb debris. Squirrels and other pests have a nose for those clues, which will lead them right to a meal. (If using mulch, do not apply too early, as this could attract them. Apply after the soil freezes hard in a thin layer.

Full Metal Jacket

  • Place mesh, wire or metal barriers at least 12 inches high around your flower bulb garden. This will keep them from entering the garden area from the top. Bury the bottom edge six to 10 inches to prevent them from digging beneath the barrier.

We hope these tips and tricks will help you keep the fury critters in your neighborhood out of the garden. To learn more about bulbs visit for a variety of information. We’ve got one last tip for planting that comes right from the kitchen! Rumor has it that sprinkling cayenne pepper on the bulbs before you plant them helps repel crafty critters. This may just be an old Holland myth but anything helps, right??

Tulip Time Bloom Time- Prolonging the Magic!

This week we are excited to have Stacy Hirvela of Proven Winners Color Choice Shrubs discuss which types of tulips to plant for a lasting presence in your garden. Join us during Tulip Time 2015 to hear Stacey speak as one of our featured garden expert. CLICK HERE to learn more about Stacey’s Tulip Time appearance and ticket sales.

“It’s tempting to select tulips for your yard based on color alone. After all, it’s those saturated, box-of-crayons hues that draw us to tulips in the first place. But you’ll enjoy your investment a lot more if you choose varieties based on their bloom time rather than simply their color. With just a bit of research and careful shopping, you can enjoy 6-8 weeks of non-stop blooms. Here’s how!

Most people don’t know that tulips are divided into 15 internationally-recognized classes based on their flower form and bloom time:

Early season bloom: Single Early, Double Early (these refer to the number of petals), Greigii (this is the type that often has ornamental striped foliage), Kaufmanniana (very short, with splotched foliage), Fosteriana (with narrow, elegant flowers), and species tulips (these are the same tulips that are found in the wild in Central Europe).

Mid-season bloom: Darwin Hybrid (tall with a classic flower farm), Triumph (medium height with saturated colors), Parrot (with twisted, fringed petals for a very showy and unusual effect).

Late season bloom: Single Late, Double Late, Viridiflora (prominent green ribs on petals), Lily-Flowered (elegantly proportioned with pointed petals that curve outward), Fringed (neat and tidy, with pretty little fringes around the edges of the petals), and Rembrandt (similar to the famous “broken color” tulips that caused Tulipmania in the Netherlands in the 1630s).

Armed with the knowledge of these 15 distinct types, you can easily orchestrate a dynamic display that lasts much longer than it would if you chose by color alone: just pick your color scheme and then select a few varieties from early, mid, and late season bloom periods. Most garden centers create eye-catching displays based on color alone without acknowledging the various bloom times, so you may have to do a bit of careful reading – whether the bloom period is indicated on the package depends on which company packed them. If you prefer to shop online, the task is a bit more straightforward: websites usually organize their selection by classification and bloom time.

Let’s say I wanted to create a classic red and yellow display. I might start out with ‘Red Riding Hood’ a Greigii tulip with nifty purple markings on its gorgeous blue foliage, and mix in the fabulous ‘Monsella,’ a yellow double early with red breaks for some height and depth. Here in Michigan, these would probably start about mid-April, though tulip emergence is heavily tied to the weather, so exact timing would vary. As those open and begin to peak, the mid-season bright yellow ‘Conqueror’ and vivid red ‘Oxford’ would start showing color, bringing classic color and shape to the display. I might not be able to resist adding ‘Princess Irene’ (also known as ‘Prinses Irene’, its Dutch name) to the mix, because this timeless orange and red variety is delightfully fragrant. Finally, as the last petals fall from the early bloomers, the late season varieties arrive to perk things up. I’d definitely get some yellow ‘Maja,’ since fringed tulips are among my favorites and some ‘Sky High Scarlet’ for its straight, strong, tall stems and pure red flowers. I would simply have to include one of the later-flowering Parrots, like ‘Texas Flame,’ ‘Parrot King,’ or, if I wanted to be really crazy, the flamboyant ‘Red Bright Parrot,’ with its splotches of purple and yellow on the bright red petals. Might as well end tulip season with a bang, right?!”

All photos courtesy of Longfield Gardens: 


A piece of the Old Country…

This week, Vickie Morgan, Windmill Island Horticulturist, shares with us the process of how over 100,000 tulip bulbs will be planted at Windmill Island Gardens!

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“The Netherlands is the world’s leading producer of tulips. About 93 percent of all bulbs in the world come from the Netherlands. There are over 52,000 acres of bulbs. Three billion tulips are produced annually which, if planted four inches apart, would circle the globe at the equator seven times!

At Windmill Island Gardens we can’t make such claims but we can follow suit in true Dutch fashion and plant a glorious field of tulips reminiscent of the vast fields in northern Holland. Our tulips have arrived from the Netherlands and we are awaiting the Customs inspection to release the tulips. We expect to start planting perhaps as soon as the week of October 6th!

Our field is approximately 5/8 of an acre. We plant about 24 rows with alternating colors and varieties. Almost 60,000 tulips will go into the field representing about 15 of the 55 varieties of tulips we have ordered.

Our custom-designed tulip planter was developed by Howie Poll of Holland Transplanter Company. Pulled behind a tractor, it has 3 seats, 3 racks for tulip crates, and 6 rotating wheels. The machine cuts 6 furrows at a time, so each tulip tosser must load two wheels at a time. Superb eye/hand coordination is required to keep up with the rotating wheels that are divided into six sections like a pie. We grab handfuls of bulbs and drop them into each section (remember, with both your left and right hands going at the same time) as the wheel rotates around to a hole beneath and drops a bulb down into the furrow. If you fall behind, you leave blank spots in your row. Last year I had nightmares about finding big open spots in the field in spring!

It takes about a day and a half to get the entire field planted. Stacks of crates are staged on the east side of the field, organized by row number. Besides the tractor driver and the 3 tulip throwers, there is another person standing on a large iron bar that drags along behind the planter to smooth the dirt back into the furrows. And lastly, a “runner” who will make sure our tulip bins don’t run out. 

60,000 bulbs planted. That only leaves 46,000 more to go! And those get planted by hand – one at a time by our troop of gardeners and loyal volunteers. If you would like to experience tulip planting first-hand, we can always use extra helpers. To volunteer, call us at 616-355-1032.”