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Tulips blooming early in Ottawa thanks to ideal weather

April showers have brought May flowers — tulips, and plenty of them, are popping up across the national capital region. Ideal weather and a warm winter seems to have some of the buds blossoming earlier than usual and more than a week ahead of one of the city’s premiere events.

As tulips burst across Commissioners Park, residents like Hannah Willmann are immersed in the picturesque beauty of spring.

“It’s vibrant, lively, the colours are everywhere,” she says, while strolling along the many flower beds facing Dow’s Lake “I love coming in the early morning when there’s fewer crowds and when the morning light kind of highlights the flowers a bit more but I think they’re gorgeous anytime.”

This year, many tulips around the region seem to have made an early appearance and it’s because of the temperature. It’s perfect for growing but maybe not so much for one of Ottawa’s largest events, the Canadian Tulip Festival.

So might these tulips, a beautiful token of gratitude from the Dutch for Canada’s role in liberating the Netherlands during World War II, be at risk of wilting away before Tulipfest’s May 10 start?

“If our temperatures stay low, they could be here for three to five weeks but if the temperatures get warm, you might really want to get outside and see them,” says Jason Vodden, professor and technician of horticulture programs with Algonquin College. “If the temperatures had gotten warm, we could’ve expected to see them for as little as one week. I suspect that they might be opening this week. I would get out and see them, but I also think that for Tulipfest they are going to be right on time.”

Each year, the National Capital Commission plants more than one million tulips bulbs across the region and to ensure a colourful bouquet remains in its flower beds, gardeners use a variety of species which bloom early, mid-season and late.

“The only difference with the blooms this year is because we didn’t get a really cold winter. The stems are going to be a little bit shorter,” says Jo Riding, Tulip Festival executive director. “But of course, people are not coming to look at stems. They’re coming to look at the flowers.”

On the Tulipfest opening weekend, the ByWard Market will launch its outdoor public market season, along with a Mother’s Day flower market.

There will be a plethora of events happening across the city including free movies, sound of light experiences and tributes to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The 72nd edition of the Canadian Tulip Festival runs from May 10 to 20.

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