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Hershey Gardens Gears Up for Tulip-Palooza!

With 20,000 tulips and an additional 10,000 bulbs soon ready to flood Hershey Gardens in a sea of color, springtime at Hershey Gardens is one of the most highly anticipated times of year.

“Roses are what we’re known for, but tulips are certainly a close second,” said Alyssa Hagarman, horticulture specialist.

It was 76 years ago, in 1942, when tulips were first planted at Hershey Gardens, and they have been a tradition ever since. The annual tulip display showcases dozens of varieties in a kaleidoscope of colors ranging from bright white to the deepest shade of purple—and every color in between.

Preparation for the spring tulip display begins in late October, when gardeners and volunteers get down on their hands and knees to plant the bulbs.

“Thanks to the extra help we receive from volunteers, we get all the bulbs in the ground in just over a day,” added Hagarman. “After the fall planting, it’s a waiting game to see when they’ll start peeking out of the ground in spring.”

For all the tulip enthusiasts who want to know when, exactly, the tulips at Hershey Gardens will bloom, pinpointing that is like pinning down a moving target.

“Starting around the beginning of April, we receive that question a lot! It’s difficult to predict exactly when the tulips will be in peak bloom,” added Hagarman. “The gardening staff here at Hershey Gardens often says, ‘Mother Nature is our head horticulturist.’ It all depends on the weather; peak bloom could be anywhere from mid-April to mid-May.”

After several weeks of progressively warmer weather, peak bloom occurs; and when it does, it’s a sight to behold. The tulips take center stage at Hershey Gardens during their blooming, and visitors come from far and wide to see them.

This spring promises to be a show-stopper, thanks to more than 20 new cultivars of tulips that include emperor-type, lily-type, triumph and fringed. In total, 63 cultivars will be on display.

Be sure to visit HersheyGardens.org and Hershey Gardens’ Facebook, Twitter (@hersheygardens) and Instagram (@hersheygardens) for updates on the tulips.