Anna Maria Locke

indoor spring: 2013 Chicago Flower and Garden Show


Before I share more pretty flower pictures, I'd like to do my blogger duty of acknowledging that Google Reader is going away. I've been a daily GR user since 2009 and I just can't believe them when they say that "usage is declining"! I'm usually supportive of Google's world takeover mission but I don't like how they're manipulating everyone into using Google+. 

Well, anyway, if you're a Google Reader user you've probably found an alternative by now. I've started using Feedly and I love it so far. It takes a little bit longer to load on my computer sometimes but I think it's actually better than GR in that it's easier to organize your blogs and read one at a time.

Another popular option (especially for fellow bloggers) seems to be Bloglovin'.
If you're a Bloglovin fan you can follow me by clicking the link below!

Ok, on to the post!

This weekend Ben and I ventured downtown to check out the 2013 Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier. My uncle's bulb company Doornbosch Bros. is responsible for the spectacular tulip displays and since we now live in the city we had to take the opportunity to visit him and my cousins at their bulb booth and experience the gorgeous colors!

Since it seems like we are stuck in a perpetual Narnia-style winter here in Chicago, it was SO refreshing to get to see some flowers blooming. If you've read my blog for any stretch of time you know that I love taking photographs of flowers, so I left Ben on his own to wander around the exhibition hall while I spent a good amount of time geeking out and taking tulip portraits!

Each of the 8,000 bulbs were individually planted in a little pot last fall, left in a cooler to simulate winter, "forced" to grow and bloom in a greenhouse last month, and then painstakingly planted in these raised beds!

The hundreds of fellow spring-starved people at the show were all magnetically drawn to the spectacular tulip displays. 

It was an interesting challenge to photograph flowers under harsh spotlights!

Pink tulips are my favorite, can you tell?

The tulips with feathered stripes are called Rembrandt tulips and were highly prized back in the Tulipomania days of the 1600's. Originally the color variations were caused by a virus but growers have developed a way to mimic the coloring patterns in healthy bulbs.

I like hyacinths better than tulips because they smell so good!

If you're interested in planting tulips in your yard, look for large bulbs from an authentic Dutch supplier. Planting season for tulips and other early spring flowers (daffodils, hyacinths, crocus) is in the late fall (October/early Nov) before the first frost. Plant bulbs in clusters of at least 12 for the most dramatic effect! You can plant summer flowers right now. Here are some more planting tips.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of spring! Maybe someday we'll see some flowers growing outdoors too...I say as it actually snows outside.

Do you have a favorite flower? 
(Tulips are nice but I really love big fluffy summer blooms like peonies and dahlias the best).

Have you ever tried planting bulbs?