May 28: When Tulip Bulbs Have Their Day In The Rose City

Used tulip bulbs from beds like this one will be distributed gratis to local gardeners May 28 at the Sports Complex parking area. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

WELLAND –  If you want free, used tulip bulbs courtesy of the city, don’t go to Chippawa Park to stand in line and wait your turn as in previous years. There won’t be anyone there.

The popular rite of spring with a robust following by hundreds in the Rose City’s  “green thumb” community won’t be cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions although it is being transplanted to another site.

The date is Thursday, May 28, Peter Boyce, manager of parks, planning and maintenance, wrote in an email communication. There will be no rain date.

The drive-up event will be held at Quaker Road Sports Complex, 90 Quaker Rd., from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., time based on bulb availability. A limit of one bag per vehicle will be in effect.

“All staff /residents must respect physical distancing rules and regulations,” is one of the stipulations in the email.  

“All staff must wear required PPE including, gloves, medical masks, safety vests etc.,” is another.

Bulb seekers will drive into the parking area via the east entrance, a queue will be set up with barricades and delineators.

The pick-up area will be set up on the west side of the parking lot. 

A bag will be deposited on the ground or a table by staff at the pick-up location. In compliance with physical distancing, staff will back away from the drop area. The driver or passenger will exit the vehicle, pick up the bag from the drop area, place it in the vehicle and then get back into the vehicle which will then drive away. The vehicle will exit the parking lot from the west entrance.

The used bulbs come from Welland’s eye-popping floral showcase beds found in several locations in the city. Some examples are the two beds on Prince Charles Drive near West Side fire station and one in Riverbank Park off Niagara Street at Riverbank.

As in previous years, about 8,000 used bulbs will be available. They come in a variety of colours.

The bulb giveaway has a huge following among local gardeners, with 300 or more “green thumbs” showing up for it many years. 

It was previously held outside Chippawa Park’s maintenance building, Fitch Street and First Avenue. In past years bulb distribution didn’t begin until 8 a.m. but that didn’t stop early birds from arriving an hour or more before start time, just so they could be at the front of the line.

File shot shows gardeners waiting in line at Chippawa Park for used tulip bulbs. This year’s giveaway has been moved to the Sports Complex, Quaker Road.

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