5/05/2016 9:00:00 a.m.
5 May 2016 - One hundred thousand tulip bulbs will be planted by Rotorua Lakes Council this month, elevating the annual Tulip Festival to new heights.
Council is more than doubling what was planted leading up to each of the previous two festivals as support for the event continues to grow. As a lead up to the inaugural festival in 2014, 40,000 bulbs were planted, with that number repeated last year.
The festival, to be held from October 1-9, is all set to be New Zealand’s largest tulip festival.
Tulip Festival manager Brigitte Nelson says the planting footprint will be expanded this year. About 10,000 bulbs of varying colour will be planted on Hospital Hill and 20,000 around the new Children’s Art House in the Government Gardens. The remaining 70,000 bulbs will be planted elsewhere throughout the iconic Government Gardens and the inner-city road reserves.
Inner City Focus Group spokesperson Mike Steiner, who suggested the number of tulips be boosted, says it is hard not to feel sheer enthusiasm for the festival.
“It has been embraced whole-heartedly by the community. It gives pure pleasure to a wide variety of people – both locals, and the many visitors it attracts to the city.
“The displays will be magnificent. One hundred thousand is a magic, wow, number that will spark the interest of many – nationally too. Rotorua is stepping out and has so much going for it.”
He believes the city boosts an increasingly enthusiastic, innovative and creative vibe and the festival was part of that.
Brigitte says the festival has always been community-orientated and it was pleasing to again see the enthusiasm of retailers and members of the public. Many have plans to plant tulips at home, or in planters outside their stores.
The opportunity to enjoy the mass plantings in various localities will be but part of the festival. Brigitte says the past years’ festival-associated offerings will be added to. Guest speakers, high tea, bus tours, children’s art, and cake decorating are some of the many events planned.
The festival originated two years ago after Rotorua Lakes Council was approached by the Inner City Focus Group.
For many years council had been planting 20,000 to 30,000 tulip bulbs. Three years ago the Inner City Focus Group suggested spotlighting the city by building a festival around that planting tradition.
The reception was “fantastic” and the festival has continued to grow from there.
Photo caption: Horticulturist from Rotorua Nursery Wendy Mason amongst the tulip bulbs.