Tulip Mania at Elm Bank and Wicked Tulips

Wicked Tulips Exeter farm 2019


Who needs a fluff piece this morning? Me! Okay, let’s talk flowers which is a favorite subject of mine. Yesterday, the Owl met with a wonderful new pollinator gardener who is going to shred the front yard of grass and put in some pollinator plants and that just makes the Owl very very happy. What else makes the Owl happy besides tacos and cake? Tulips.

The Owl is genetically predisposed to like tulips because she is of Dutch descent. Yes, while some of you were floating along on the Mayflower or are more recent immigrants (Mr. Owl, for one) or are Original People, the Owl family came over in the late 1800s to escape various sicknesses and boiled meat and to farm the very good land around Chicago and Michigan. If you’ve ever spent time in that region, the Dutch are obvious in the names of towns (Owl parents are from South Holland) and the preponderance of onions and potatoes in all meals. Oh fine, not really on the latter. Also very clean windows. And tulips.

Therefore and cutting to the chase two paragraphs after she started, the Owl has already marked her visit to Tulip Mania to be held for the first time ever at Elm Bank in Wellesley. She has plans to be very very judge-y about the tulips, as opposed to her local rabbits who are not at all picky and have cleaned up the Owl yard from any tulip ever planted. We stick with daffodils now.

If you have never been to “MassHort” or the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley, well, I am sorry for you. In Fall 2022, they planted 50,000 tulips (!!!!!) in the beds of the Trial Garden. This garden area, centered with a Hartley Victorian Greenhouse, is home to yearly tests of new and unreleased varieties of annuals and perennials. This April, you get to experience the first-ever Tulip Mania in the MHS Trial Garden.

The expected bloom date is April 14 and runs around 2 weeks. If you are a member, you get free admission. Why would you not be a member? Confusing. Anyway, weekdays are open admission but weekends are set admission times. Go on a weekday. Trust me. You can learn more here.



Now, if you feel like going a bit farther afield (haha, good pun, Owl), you can hop in your car and head out to the self-proclaimed Happiest Place on Earth, a motto that sadly would never fit our town because…we are ummm not historically that happy. Maybe we need more tulips. Wicked Tulips is now in three locations, all of them happy, all of them insanely full of tulips (in season). Road trip to Exeter or Johnston, Rhode Island or Preston, Connecticut (only the first one currently open, and not fully so) and delight in rows and rows and rows of the most amazing tulips ever grown outside of the homeland.

Wicked Tulips is not free, nor should it be. This is actually a family-owned farm and deserves the entrance fee. The Exeter Farm opens with discount admission today and tomorrow with adult tickets $15 and kids $5 unless they are under 4 and then they are free. I am pretty sure you get 10 tulips with admission and can buy more for $1 a stem. Check the website for more info and wear shoes that enjoy muck. Note two things: tickets are ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE–you cannot get them at the farm, and this week is pre-grand opening which means these are early beds only at Exeter. When the full grand opening happens, you’re talking 150,000 tulips and $23 entrance fees. Trust me when I say it’s worth it.

Tulips from Wicked Tulips, 2019

If you are planning to visit either Preston or Johnston, please, stay tuned for ticket alerts by email. Preston expected opening is April 25, and Johnston around April 29. Talk to Mother Nature for confirmed dates and sign up for email alerts.

And there. I feel like I have done my Dutchiness proud and can now swan off to more serious subjects. Or not.

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