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BNT Celebrates The Tulip

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BNT Celebrates The Tulip

Updated: November 15, 2019

Byline: Karen Leslie

People have been obsessing over the tulip for centuries. Its cup-shaped, star-petaled beauty draws throngs of travelers to tulip festivals in Holland, Michigan, and Pella, Iowa, here in the U.S.. Annually, flora-lovers fill tours and cruises to Switzerland, France, Germany, and The Netherlands just to gawk at the multitude of tulip varieties. Throughout 2020, BNT is offering several tours celebrating the incomparable tulip: Tulip Time in Michigan, Tractors and Tulips, Tulip Time on Jewels of the Rhine, and 1,000 Islands & Ottawa. On the way to the Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa, the coach bus will stop in Illinois at the John Deere Pavilion and John Deere Factory. BNT travelers will also travel to Holland, Michigan, for the Tulip Time Festival.

What Tulip Colors Mean

As with many flower varieties, individual colors carry different meanings. In the tulip world yellow stands for cheerfulness, white offers worthiness and forgiveness, purple represents royal, red conveys “perfect love,” and, variegated tulips embody beautiful eyes.

Tulip Festivals in America

Pella, Iowa

In 1935, just two weeks after Pella High School finished a successful run of its musical “Tulip Time in Pella,” the seeds were planted to hold an annual Tulip Day to honor Pella’s Dutch heritage. Though the first festival lacked tulips, a local cabinet-maker named George Heeren carved 125 four-foot wooden tulips to surround the town square, and 85,000 tulips were planted. Today, Pella’s Tulip Time features a lighted Volks parade, historic village, Dutch costumes,and dancing, a quilt show, markets, Dutch demonstrations, a Tractor Rodeo, and much more! What better way to see 4.5 MILLION tulips at once! 

Holland, Michigan

In 1927 in Holland, Michigan, the Woman’s Literary Club et Tulip Time in motion, initially as “Tulip Day.” Holland purchased 100,000 tulip bulbs from The Netherlands a year later, so that in 1929 thousands of tulips boomed. The city invited visitors to enjoy the vivid tulip display during one week in May. Crowds showed enthusiastic interest, and Tulip Time grew into an annual event.  A revival of old Netherlands customs and traditions followed. Tulip Time now features Dutch costumes, wooden shoes, and a marktplaat, in addition to millions of tulips. 2018 celebrates Tulip Time’s 89th year.

Planting Tulips for long-lasting color

According to, tulips grow best in cold winters and dry summers. These colorful flowers enjoy full to partial sunlight and should be planted in the fall before the ground freezes. For glorious color all Spring long, plant varieties, such as early-blooming red-orange Darwin Parade—these flowers measuring up to 6” in diameter—and late-blooming, dramatic-flamed World Expression. Click HERE for more tulip planting tips!

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