22 October 2012

Taylor's Tulip Time meets Welcome to Holland

A few years ago while traveling for work during mid-Spring, I landed in the town of Pella, Iowa.  I just happened to arrive a week before their annual Tulip Time celebration and as someone who loves to garden, was deeply disappointed that my timing was off just enough that while the tulip blooms were up and almost ready to open, the display of color wasn't showing yet.  As I learned more about their festival and the fact that they plant 75,000 new bulbs each fall for a spring display, I knew that I had to come back.  The next year, I planned my trip to the area a little better and was able to enjoy Tulip Time after working for the day.  While I was there, I toured the Vermeer Mill and the rest of the Historical Village and also the  Scholte House.  During my visit, I enjoyed learning about the history of Tulip Time in the town of Pella and I absolutely fell in love a pastry called the "Dutch Letter" from a bakery named Jaarsma.  I strolled the streets and took in the sights of the man made canal, the boutiques and shops as well as the hundreds of homes decorated for spring with their yards full of tulips!!

I was inspired.

When I returned home, I sought out as much information as I could about growing tulips, where to source bulbs, how to plant and care for them, researched ideas on how to group them, etc.  Some may say I was a bit obsessed.. just ask my husband.  I purchased what I thought was a lot of bulbs from Brecks - 300 and planned my display.  The day that I decided to plant the bulbs, I decided I needed a new pair of gardening gloves and made a quick trip to Lowes, where I found what else other than all of their tulip bulbs 90% off!  These were much more economical than what I had already purchased from Brecks and I began to fill my cart.  Soon it was heaping and eventually it was overflowing... and there were more bulbs still on the rack!  The garden center manger noticed my excessive purchase and stopped to tell me that if I bought all of what was left on the rack, he'd add an additional discount on top of the already massive discounted price.  That my friends is what led me to planting over 3000 tulips (and daffodils) that fall.  As my friends were cursing our Ohio winter, I was grateful when the snow arrived and the ground froze.. that is after all what keeps the bulbs from rotting in the wet ground and forces them to bloom when the soil begins to warm in the spring.  After a few months, the green sprouts began to emerge from the bleak winter flowerbeds and I began to plan my own Tulip Time celebration in North Central Ohio!  I ordered Dutch Letters from Jaarsma and had them shipped to my home, prepared other baked goods and invited friends and family to visit and celebrate spring with us one Sunday afternoon.  I have always looked forward to seeing my tulips emerge each spring and they have served as a wonderful reminder of the beauty of nature.  I've included some photos of "Taylor's Tulip Time" below.

After learning that our son was going to be born with Down Syndrome, one of the first resources that was shared with me was an article written by Emily Perl Kingsley entitled Welcome to Holland... I was absolutely transfixed as I read each line.  I loved Pella and I had actually dreamed of visiting Holland some day just to see their tulips.  Obviously there is no guarantee that this child will love tulips as much as I do (or that "Holland" will always be a wonderful place to be), but the combination of my experience with tulips and reading Ms. Kinglsley's analogy really strengthened my faith around the fact that God had been leading me down this path long before I could have ever expected where he was taking me.  Maybe I'm reaching a bit too far, but nonetheless it's brought me great comfort and has helped me to make some sense of our baby's diagnosis!

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