MANHATTAN – Get a piece of Park Avenue all for yourself starting on Monday, as the annual Tulip Dig begins on the Upper East Side. The public will be welcome to bring their shovels and take as many of the estimated 60,000 tulip bulbs planted in the avenue’s median, to be replanted in your own home garden.
For more than forty years, the non-profit Fund for Park Avenue has been responsible for planting and maintaining trees and flowers on the Park Avenue malls, including the spring tulip plantings.
Amateur gardeners are asked to be extra careful while digging on the tulip covered avenue’s medians— which stretch from East 86th Street on the Upper East Side down to East 54th Street in Midtown.
On a flier promoting the event, the Fund for Park Avenue instructs Tulip Dig participants not to not take any soil from the plant beds and do not cut off the flowers’ leaves.
This year’s flowers are Darwin Hybrid tulips called Apricot Pride— they’re weather resistant and come back year after year as long as their flowers aren’t cut, the Fund says.
A veteran tulip digger recommended by the Fund advises those testing out their green thumb on Park Avenue to take the tulip bulbs out of the ground slowly and carefully to keeping the stem from breaking apart.
“Bulbs should be stored in a dry place until the leaves have turned brittle,” reads the flier for the annual event, which begins once the tulips lose their petals in late May.
“They can be re-planted in October or November using a small amount of Bulbtone-type fertilizer. Be sure to choose a location that gets full sunlight.”
The Fund for Park Avenue says anyone participating in this year’s Tulip Dig should print out and carry a copy of the promotional flier, found here, apparently to show any curious passers-by who might think there’s foul play afoot.
The Park Avenue Tulip Dig runs one week, from Monday, May 23rd to Sunday, May 29th.