Locals have become accustomed to seeing beautiful flowers and foliage growing along Main Street in Argenta, especially in the spring. It’s always a dose of sweet eye candy to see color dangling from baskets, balconies, patio rails, and nestled in pots and beds along the streets. The tulips are particularly stunning. Blooming fairly early in the spring, they are among the first pops of color we see. Delicate and stately looking, they are quite the show stoppers.
Perhaps the mindset of a lazy gardener, some of us are of the opinion that tulips are kind of….umm… well, particular, to put it nicely. First of all, unlike other bulbs of beautiful flowers, tulips’ bulb has to be dug up after it blooms in the spring, stored just so, and then brought back out to be replanted in late fall or early winter - when the ground is cold and hard and absolutely no one feels like doing anything the yard!
But last month, about 70 or so neighbors and Argenta-lovers came in their warmest and dirt-worthy gardening digs to do their part in burying about 14,000 tulip bulbs. The tulip planting has become an annual tradition. Although, we’re a little foggy on when it all started, we’re settling with a verdict of between 5 and 10 years ago. But, regardless, it turns out that the tradition has probably stuck around because it’s actually way more fun to plant tulip bulbs in the winter Argenta planters with a group of friends than it is to do at your own house! (the Mimosas and Bloody Mary's don’t hurt either!)
To be fair, volunteers cannot take all the credit. The ADC Clean and Green team works in the weeks prior to clean out existing plants so the Main Street beds are ready for tulip bulbs and pansies. They also take care of planting bulbs in planters off of Main Street. Former Executive Director of the Argenta Downtown Council (ADC), Donna Hardcastle, was instrumental in initial efforts to beautify Argenta with the plants and flowers that it is known for today. A master gardener, she instilled her love of gardening into perking up a once less vibrant Main Street. She still assists the Clean Green team cleaning and preparing the beds the week prior to the Annual Sunday volunteer event.
This year for the event, Conan Robinson of Four Quarter Bar unveiled a signature cocktail called the Argenta Tulip at the volunteer after-party lunch, hosted by Bob Hardin and Beth May. Look for more on the Argenta Tulip cocktail coming this spring! “I envision cut tulips on the tables of the restaurants, Flyway Brewery has a specialty beer they will introduce, and we’ll bring back the Argenta Tulip to Four Quarter,” says Chris Kent, ADC Executive Director. “I’m also working on having a Tulip Pop Up event whenever the tulips do decide to pop UP! I hope we can create a buzz around here tying in the tulips blooming to restaurant specials.”
While tulip planting is not work for all gardens and gardeners seeking plants that fit a one-and-done work ethic, the volunteer gardeners in Argenta will feel the just rewards of sipping on namesake libations and looking at a dazzling show of tulips come springtime. Until then, Cheers! And stay warm!
Special thanks to Bob Hardin and Beth May who open their ultra cool home and whip up a delicious lunch for volunteers! (You guys and your home really bring the tulip fun!). Also, to Titos Vodka & Four Quarter for being drink sponsors, and creative cocktail creations. To Chris Olsens' Plantiopia and Botanica Gardens, who provided the Tulip bulbs and Garden supplies at cost. 🙏