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Tulip Talk
What Ever Happened to the Early Emerging Tulips?

This spring Journey North gardeners reported their gardens emerging earlier than ever before. After unseasonably warm winter temperatures in many parts of North America then very cold and snowy weather we wondered what happened to the earliest emerging gardens.
Let's find out!

1. Midland, MI - emerged 12/23: Our first few tulips emerged on December 23rd. We had a warm December and first half of January but have had unseasonably cold temperatures since then. Today (04/09) many of the tulips are in the 4 to 5 inch height range, although several are much taller and others are just emerging. The bed is a real mixture of growth stages. Overall, the tulips don't look as vigorous as they have in the past. Perhaps some warmer weather will improve their appearance. At least they're still alive. (See pictures >>)

Think! How could you keep records to help you know whether this year's tulips are as vigorous as they normally would be?

2. Wooster, OH - emerged 01/18: After 7 days of below freezing temperatures (April 4-10) and snowfall the flowering tulips were pushed down, and they sustained damage to their petals. The flower buds were not damaged and are getting ready to bloom. Temperatures this week in Wooster are predicted to be 40ºF +, so we predict that the tulips will rebound and still give us a beautiful display before the season is over. However, as predictors of spring, we are not sure we can always trust the blooming time of the tulips. (See pictures >>)

Think! This winter's wacky weather shows us that tulip bloom might not be the best way to tell spring has arrived. What other signals might be more constant indicators?

3. East Peoria, IL - emerged 01/04: The early emerging tulips were the first ones to bloom, we have had a bitterly cold week so they have since died- most did BLOOM though. We have really seen wacky weather- almost a shift of seasons- later winter and later spring.We still have quite a few tulips that have not grown much - they emerged about 1 inch and have stopped- we shall see!

Think! Do you think it is odd that the early emerged tulips have bloomed while the others are still just emerging? Why?

4. New York City, NY - emerged 01/02: There were about 25 emerged tulips that are just hanging out there when I left them before our break this week - nothing dead, some of them 6" up. They survived quite a few snows and such and were none the worse for wear.

5. Arlington, VA - emerged 01/02: We quickly put a layer of mulch on the ones that emerged early. When the weather got cold again many were up a bit. They were also the ones that did not have blooms this year. In addition to the lack of blooms, they also had frost burn around the edge of their leaves. Of the 52 bulbs we planted, 46 have bloomed, three were the early emergers, and three did not come up at all.

6. Columbus, NC -emerged 01/08: The warm fall weather made it hard to get the garden planted due to a warm ground temperature. Then after getting the 400 + tulips planted, we had a mild winter and several warm periods which caused the tulips to pop out of the ground early. Then we had another cold spell. I was afraid that the freezing temperatures would have a negative effect on the tulips. Most of the tulips came up 95% but only about 40% had a bloom. I wish I had marked the tulips that appeared early to see if they were the ones that bloomed.

Think! What lesson can you learn from the gardeners in Columbus, NC?

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