Welcome back to Plant Exchange where we celebrate plants of the Northern Plains and people who grow them. If we like plants, it’s easy to spot someone who values them too.
Gary Idt of Yankton is a gardener who shares his plants with others. Tulips prominently bloom along the right-of-way by his house in mid spring. Flowers of the new season do stand out.
He started with tulips already planted here by the mailbox when he and his wife Karen moved to Yankton many years ago. He thinks the purple ones may be a form of “purple parrot” tulip because of the fluttery edge of the petals.
He saved the bulbs and replanted them after their city street was renovated over a decade ago. He found them to be quite well suited to grow in this region and tolerant of conditions along a city street. He has divided the bulbs and replanted them many times, expanding the length of his right-of-way beds and adding other bulbs and succession plants besides. Neighbors and those that drive by get to enjoy the tulips in bloom.
Gary and a next-door neighbor cooperated to extend the right-of-way bed along their property. The neighbor contributed fieldstones to the bed for interest.
A neighbor across the street gave Gary some tulips, so he planted them in his front yard so they all could enjoy them. Spring is time for new growth and Gary likes plants of spring.
In late May, these tulips still hold their petals. Also in the flowerbed is variegated ribbon grass.
If you’d like to find out more about Gary Idt’s tulips and how he cares for them and manages the beds for later plants, here is the link to the article that appeared in the Yankton Press & Dakotan newspaper:
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It must be nice to grow them as perennials. I do not grow them because they are like expensive and short term annuals here. They bloom nicely in the first year, but do not get adequate chill in winter to bloom again. There are too many easier bulbs to grow than to dig and chill tulips. I suppose that if I really wanted to, I could grow them. Some day, I will grow the common ‘Maureen’ because they seem to be such perfect white.