When I think of springtime in Kansas, the images that come to mind are thunderstorms, warming weather, and the awakening of our flora and fauna.
An annual event, however, that we in the Midwest sometimes overlook is the spring tulip bloom when brilliant shades of yellow, red, pink, purple and orange greet visitors as they enter gardens. Hundreds of different varieties result in a beautiful spring show. This time of year, Kansas gardens and arboretums burst with the colors of tulips, blooming trees and shrubs, thousands of daffodils and other blooming flowers.
Needless to say, the sight is amazing.
It wouldn’t be spring in Kansas without a festival, and Tulip Time in Topeka continues to be a top destination. Three locations in the state capital celebrate the abundance of tulips: Lake Shawnee at the Ted Ensley Gardens, Old Prairie Town Village and Gage Park. The blooms are nestled amongst flowering trees such as redbuds and dogwoods.
Stroll through the Ted Ensley Botanical Gardens at Lake Shawnee to view over 50,000 tulips and daffodils located along the edge of Lake Shawnee—and don’t miss the small waterfall. Old Prairie Town, at Ward-Meade Historic Site, showcases more than 40,000 tulips inside an actual turn-of-the-century prairie town. An 80-year-old stone arch bridge is an attractive backdrop to the many tulips at Gage Park.
TULIP TIME AROUND KANSAS
Topeka isn’t alone in this floral showcase. Wamego hosts an annual Tulip Festival that attracts thousands of visitors and over 150 craft vendors; 2016 marked 30 years of the beloved event.
Matching the cultural highlights of the community, the tulips come from Holland. In addition to festival, visitors will enjoy the 40-foot-high old Dutch Mill, which was built in 1879 and moved to its current location in 1920. The fascinating mill sits at the south-east corner of the Wamego Town Square, at the edge of the Wamego Prairie Village.
Two locations in the Wichita region become a little brighter in March. Botanica and the Bartlett Arboretum (just south of Wichita in Belle Plaine) both attract hundreds to the sea of blooms.
A dazzling display can be found at the Wichita Botanica where 51,000 tulips in more than 80 varieties have names such as Palmyra, Pink Star, and Sugar Love. Keep in mind, many of the tulips bulbs are sold after the display.
The tiny town of Belle Plaine puts on a splendid springtime tulip and daffodil display as well. Across the 15 acres of the Bartlett Arboretum, a local non-profit arboretum, tulips woo visitors who wander through the historic property. Running in April, the annual Tulip Time Festival welcomes flower enthusiasts to downtown Belle Plaine.
We invite you to visit the various gardens in Kansas, and see for yourself why there’s truly no place quite like KANSAS!