Easter flowers

Today has been an absolutely beautiful day in Michigan.  I can’t remember when the sun, the sky, and the temperature has been this lovely.  My daffodils are blooming and it really feels like Spring has come to stay.

I love flowers for a special table setting, and I always try to have something different for a holiday meal.  I especially love Spring flowers and decided on pink tulips this year for my Easter table.

I used antique Ball pale blue jars for vases and have been admiring the tulips every day since I placed them on the table. There is just something about the colors that are so peaceful and elegant.

Sometimes just a simple table arrangement makes all the difference in presentation of a special meal.  Our family enjoyed a special glazed ham with vegetables this year, along with my classic Easter Egg cookies.  I will always have these memories of the enjoyment I share when preparing a meal for everyone.

Windmill Island Gardens: Holland MI

windmill replica also located in the gardens

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Imported from the Netherlands, a large authentic working Dutch windmill is located in Holland, Michigan.  I toured the city and gardens last week for the annual tulip festival. The windmill is twelve stories tall, and is turned by wind power.  The millstones within the mill grind grain into flour.  With entrance to the gardens, visitors tour the working mill spring through fall every year. In addition, a smaller windmill replica is also within the walking gardens.

The large imported windmill is named De Zwaan, which is Dutch for the Swan.  The mill is over 240 years old and was brought to Holland in 1964.  This windmill was the last one to leave the Netherlands.  Dutch law now prohibits the sale of windmills.  Windmills are considered national monuments in the Netherlands.  The flour that is produced from the mill is whole wheat graham flour and is packaged into two-pound bags and can be purchased in the gift shop.

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Besides this beautiful attraction, we spent time wandering through the tulip gardens in the park. This year, 55,000 tulips were planted in large fields, where others were planted in arranged beds with other spring flowers.

The tour also includes a movie, Amsterdam organ demonstration, an antique Dutch carousel, a tropical conservatory, and a miniature Netherlands village diorama.

The weather was beautiful and so much appreciated after such a cold Michigan winter. What a wonderful display right here in Michigan.

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spring tulips in the market

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i was visiting Connecticut last week and while shopping in the Whole Foods store, i loved that the entrance was filled with spring flowers.  the tulips were spectacular, as well as so many other spring bulbs.  i stopped and just had to take a photograph, since i have been looking at snow and more snow for at least twelve or more weeks in Michigan.

i know i have tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinths, hellebores, crocus and so many more bulbs planted in my garden to look forward to blooming. however, at this point, i am wondering if they will be floating during the spring thaw — which may be in May, or most likely June.  we have had such a steady snowpack for all of these weeks.  the density of the snow may just cause my yard to be overwhelmed with puddles of water.

now, don’t get me wrong, i do love winter.  and everything about winter.  the way the snow protects my plants–the way the snow gives us the moisture we need in our gardens–and most of all, the tremendous boost to the economy in Michigan during the entire season.  there are so many businesses in northern Michigan that rely on good cold winter weather with lots of snow for their snowmobilers, their skiers, their restaurants, and their other winter family businesses. i am so happy for them this year, because our local economy is so important these days.

when my southern friends comment on the beauty of the snow around my home, i know they don’t really understand how cold it is here.  we have had days and days of sub-zero temperatures, with wind chills in the minus 30s.  not just one or two days like this, but it seems it has been weeks of this weather.  i think this has been the defining difference in our winter season this year.  the ability to not really be outside walking around to enjoy the snow and the beauty of it all.

so, for today, i wanted to share these beautiful tulips, with the hope of a beautiful spring to come.  this was my view a couple of days ago in my yard and garden.

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yellow tulips

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i don’t plant too many tulips as i was warned by my neighbors that we have deer that roam through the neighborhood.  however, as i have lived here, i have only seen them a very few times, and never during the spring.  so, last fall, i planted some tulips. and, they have bloomed beautifully for me this year.

i did fertilize the bulbs this spring when i first saw them coming up from the ground, along with the boost of bulb fertilizer they were given when planted last fall.  they are planted in almost full sun, as they do have shade later in the day.  so, hopefully they will return next year.  bulbs typically require the full sun to reach their maximum potential.

these tulips are about 12 inches tall, though i photographed them from above.  i admire the two color aspect of this species with the cup-shaped petals and the darker colored base.

each year Dow gardens in midland offers a spectacular tulip display and replaces thousands of bulbs after each growing season, making certain that their display is perfect every spring.  i plan to keep my tulips and see if they make it another year.

i find that bulbs look best when planted in clusters throughout the bed.  larger bulbs should be planted in groups of three or four, whereas; i plant small crocus in groups of 10 or 12. these were planted in groups of six.

i do see chipmunks and rabbits in my garden and sometimes find a stray bulb that has been cast off by them.  those animals don’t seem to bother daffodils, of which i plant many more than tulips.  i have been told that squirrels will eat the top of the flowers when they bloom, but have not found that with my Michigan squirrels.