Zoo Blooms has ended, but there is still plenty to see at the Zoo’s Botanical Garden! After the tulips peak bloom is over, the work really begins! Volunteers are taking over the grounds this week in an effort to dig up the once blooming tulips and begin to plant some of the region’s top rated annuals.
Why do we dig up our tulips and sell them you ask? In order for tulips to bloom to their fullest each year the leaves should die back to the ground before they are removed. Now picture that throughout the Botanical Garden for 2-3 weeks. Beds full of dying foliage. Not exactly what our guests are hoping to see! These display beds are the “floral welcome carpet” to visitors and we want them to say WOW. In order to have the best possible growing conditions we till the beds and add organic matter to the soil. Then we plant the best annual trials in the Midwest.
Why don’t we keep the bulbs and replant them? Storage is a major issue. First we would have to let the foliage dieback and the conditions for storage require a cool dark area with plenty of airflow. If you have ever come to our shop during tulip digging time and have seen the huge amounts of bulbs, it’s easy to understand we would need a warehouse. So the solution has been to sell them to the public, allowing our guests to have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of flowers in their home landscapes and using the proceeds towards the cost of next year’s bulbs. We plant over 100,000 bulbs each year, so selling the bulbs helps to offset that cost.
This year, the Zoo will be selling the bulbs on the spot as volunteers and staff digs them up. Sale times will be 10am-noon (weather permitting). The Tulip Hotline number to call for updates on digging locations and bulb availability is 513-475-6102. We will update daily where we are digging. Tulips are $5 a bag. Click here for a list of the top annuals that you may see popping up this summer! Stop by and get your bulbs before they sell out!