Tulip Queen

  

Dorothy Hingtgen and her tulip beds in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Cindy Hadish photo)

Dorothy Hingtgen and her tulip beds in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Cindy Hadish photo)

 The three things tulips don’t like are hot weather, hard, sideways wind and hail, according to “tulip lady” Dorothy Hingtgen, who lives in northeast Cedar Rapids.

    I had a fun time interviewing this witty woman for a story for the Sunday, May 10, Gazette. Dorothy digs up more than 300 tulip bulbs every year with her husband, Dan, and is as much of an expert as I’ve met on tulips. So I felt a boost when I told her about my favorite Greenland tulips, a gorgeous pink flower brushed with green. They were beautiful the first year I planted them, but didn’t return the second. I tried again, and once more, exquisite blooms, followed by nothing the next year. Greenlands are labeled for zones 3-8, so they should be fine in Iowa, but the same results  happened for Dorothy with those bulbs. I might take her advice and try something orange this fall, which she describes as the most reliable tulips.

Grand Duke tulips

Grand Duke tulips

     A tip for homeowners with voracious deer: Dorothy uses Milorganite, an organic fertilizer. She says the smell deters deer. Further deer advice can be seen in one bed to the side of her yard that didn’t have any tulips, but was filled with bright daffodils. Deer leave daffodils alone, she noted.

Gazette photographer Liz Martin shooting at Dorothy Hingtgen's home.

Gazette photographer Liz Martin shooting at Dorothy Hingtgen's home. (Cindy Hadish photo)

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