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Monday, April 7, 2014

‘An awesome year for tulips’

Flowers don’t wait for their namesake festivals.

By Annie Calovich
The Wichita Eagle

While there’s a bit of a cooldown in the forecast for early next week — temperatures dropping into the 40s at night — nothing is stopping the spectacular show of tulips that continues in the area.

“This 100-year-old historic arboretum has never been more beautiful — it would be a shame to miss it,” Robin Macy wrote from Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine this week. While Belle Plaine’s annual Tulip Time is scheduled to be celebrated April 14 and 15, and the arboretum will have art and music that weekend, Macy is encouraging people to pack a picnic and make the half-hour drive down from Wichita this weekend to see the actual tulips. The arboretum’s tall, tall trees are coloring up, too. Gates will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Sunday, and next weekend, too. A $5 donation is requested.

A Tulips & Fairies Festival continues at Botanica, and today it includes performances by Wichita Children’s Theatre — “Thwacked” at 10 a.m. and “Peter Pan” at 1 and 3 p.m. Hours for the festival are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and April 7 and 14.

Another bright spots for tulips is the front of the Garvey Center on Douglas across from Century II. There, Pat Fowler has planted a sea of sunshine in the form of more than 7,000 Golden Oxford tulips. An equal number of red Oxfords also are planted.

“This is just an awesome year for tulips,” Fowler said. “I’m worried about everything else later, but I actually planted both varieties last year, and it stayed so cool they only grew about 6 inches then they bloomed.”

This year the flowers are held aloft on stems that are 20 to 22 inches high.

Back to Bartlett Arboretum, here are the other events scheduled through Tulip Time:

•  Easter Sunday, April 8: Djangofest. Music by two dueling gypsy bands in the French jazz tradition from 2 to 5 p.m. Gates open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Picnics welcome. Italian cuisine by Luciano’s of Mulvane and barbecue by Lyon’s Den. An ecumenical Easter sunrise service open to everyone will be at 6:45 a.m.

•  April 14 and 15: Art at the Arb. Music, art and Victorian garden landscapes. Gates open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. A $5 donation is requested. Food and drinks by Lyon’s Den, Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Luciano’s and Java Villa Coffee. Thirty-five artists will showcase twig furniture, vintage garden antiques, photography, hand-made birdhouses and artifacts.

The music schedule:

April 14

Noon: Wichita Community Concert Band

1 p.m.: The Crowsons, bluegrassical folk

2: Colin Boyd, Dallas singer/songwriter

3: Monica Taylor Trio, Cimarron Valley Girl

4: Elliot Road, neo-traditionalists

5: Joe Stumpe and Fly by Night, dance party!

April 15

Noon: Jenny Lou & the Buckaroos

1 p.m.: Wichita Collegiate Jazz Band

1:40: Thor Bonner, young guitar legend

2: Rachelle Coba Trio, jazz diva

3: Colin Boyd

4: Robin Macy with the Cherokee Maidens and Sycamore Swing

5: Interior Sea.

Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com.

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