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'It symbolizes spring': Millions of tulips in bloom on Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island is looking a little like Holland this spring, with millions of bulbs and acres of tulips all tucked away in one rural community.

Vanco Farms grow bulbs that will eventually become the tulips sold at Atlantic Superstores in the Maritimes, as well as independent flower shops across the region, from January to May.

 The ones in the fields of Dromore, P.E.I., aren’t cut to send to stores, but to grow more tulips.

“This is where the bulbs for next greenhouse season are growing,” said tulip farmer Bas Arendse. “That’s a very important part of what we do.”

Many Island florists say you can’t beat the quality of the locally-grown tulips, due the flowers themselves and the short distance to them.

Vanco Farms is the biggest tulip farm east of Quebec, and is a source of pride for the farmers and Island florists.

“It’s good to get our name out there,” said Mary Langille, a florist at Hearts and Flowers in Charlottetown. “We’re a small province, but we can do a lot. The tulips are beautiful and it’s good to see other people enjoying them elsewhere.”

Though the tulips grow in greenhouses for much of the year, the flowers are particularly popular right now.

“It symbolizes spring,” said Langille. “It’s one of the first things to come up, so a lot of people look forward to it every year.”

Tulip cultivation has taken off on P.E.I. The island’s mild climate is perfect for the flowers to grow in a field.

“It doesn’t work everywhere. You need cool weather into July,” said Arendse. “After blooming, you need about six weeks of mild weather.”

The farmers plant about 350,000 blubs per acre, and with 100 acres, that’s millions of bulbs. Each can grow up to three more bulbs per season.

The field in Dromore is a working farm, and is not the kind of place where people can go and walk down the aisles.

The farmers know how tempting it is for people, so they partnered with another local farm to set up a u-pick in Belfast, P.E.I., where they can walk among the rows and get a few tulips themselves.

For full coverage of Prince Edward Island news, visit our dedicated page. Top Stories

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