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Tulips

Families enjoy an afternoon of free activities at the 18th annual Tulip Festival

The sun may have been hiding Sunday, but the tulips were out in full bloom in Huntington.

Residents strolled pathways bursting with color at the Town of Huntington’s 18th annual Tulip Festival May 6 in Heckscher Park. Thousands of tulips planted in selected beds throughout the park provided a scenic backdrop as families enjoyed and afternoon of free hands-on activities and live entertainment.

Scroll through our photos above and see if we caught you tiptoeing through the tulips.

The white petals of Large-Cupped N. 'Roulette' are a perfect foil for the orange and yellow frilled corona.

By Kyrnan Harvey

No need to panic, there’s plenty of time to order bulbs. True, some varieties might be sold out, but the importers ship through December and bulbs can be planted as long as the ground isn’t frozen. I have, in the past, gotten away with planting after New Year’s.

Above, fragrant Narcissus ‘Kedron’ (jonquilla class) naturalized with other daffodils and myrtle

 

I once had a garden with soil on the sandy side, enriched in the early years with wood-chip mulch, which eventually decomposes into humus. Here many kinds of tulips were naturalized. They need good drainage, and no excessive irrigation, in the summer months when they are dormant, or else they will rot. If I had planted five of one variety in 1998, by 2008 bulbs had increased with offsets that were flowering size. Tulips growing informally through forget-me-nots and among many other spring flowers and shrubs — as opposed to a stiffly formal throwaway mass display planting — are incomparably charming. But they are said to be caviar to deer.

Daffodils though are 100 percent deer proof. Nor do squirrels dig for them as they do for tulips. I like to plant them in a similar style: many different varieties, each segregated from other varieties. I don’t like daffodil “mixes” — five or 10 bulbs, spaced a few inches apart, randomly arranged (meaning asymmetrically, nongeometrically). In two or three years these bulbs will have a dozen or more flowers. Daffodils increase and naturalize far more reliably than tulips.

There are many more varieties of Narcissus than will be seen at Home Depot or a garden center. Thirty years ago, when I was employed as a gardener at Mrs. Whitney’s Manhasset estate, we participated in a flower show at Macy’s Herald Square. The head gardener, my boss, presented an instructional display with examples from each of the 13 divisions of daffodils, as established by the Royal Horticultural Society: trumpets, large-cupped and small-cupped N. triandrus, N. jonquilla, N. poeticus and so on.

Above, the charming Narcissus jonquilla ‘Kokopelli’

You can find, via numerous stateside bulb importers (Brent & Becky’s, John Scheepers, White Flower Farm), splendid cultivars from any and all of these classes. Moreover, within each division, there are many variations of form and diversity of color: white perianth (the petals) with yellow or orange or pink corona (the cup, or trumpet); yellow perianth/orange cup; white perianth/white cup. The rims of the cups can have different colors too and the cups and petals can have various forms.

It is easy to fill your garden with many different long-lived daffodils, each of which has its own distinctive charm and all of which, when viewed collectively in the vernal garden, harmonize with their compadres. You can do better than merely more ‘Mount Hood’ and ‘King Alfred.’ Many are delightfully scented, which is not, by the way, the cloying odor of the florists’ tender paperwhite narcissus. If you plant a dozen varieties this year, in five years you will be able to fill vases with bountiful, perfumed bouquets.

Daffodils tolerate full sun and part shade. The pink-cupped ones prefer the latter because it preserves their color. Deep shade and water-logged soil must be avoided. Cut the spent flowers but the leaves must be left uncut, unbent, and unbraided for weeks after flowering is finished. Finding companion perennials that disguise this unsightly phase of the growth cycle — and that won’t be chowed by deer! — is a finer aspect of horticulture best left to another day.

Kyrnan Harvey is a horticulturist and garden designer residing in East Setauket. For more information, visit www.boskygarden.com.

All photos by Kyrnan Harvey

Depending on the variety, irises bloom late spring to midsummer. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

Autumn is the time to plant your new spring flowering bulbs. They can be planted up until the ground freezes, usually in December. Buy the best quality you can afford and you will be rewarded with a great garden next spring.

Snowdrops. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Snowdrops. Photo by Ellen Barcel

• Don’t overlook the tiny bulbs. They’re not as showy as tulips and daffodils but are ideal in small areas and rock gardens. Crocuses, of course, come to mind, but I have windflowers in my garden coming back for decades. Other small bulbs include the super early white snowdrops, just four to six inches high, and anemone with their daisy-like flowers. There are also tiny varieties of the standards. ‘Lilac Wonder’ is a miniature tulip, lilac and bright yellow in color. ‘Pipit Daffodil,’ another miniature, is white and pale yellow. A unique, and small, daffodil is ‘Golden Bells,’ which produces a dozen or more flowers from each bulb. It’s just six to eight inches high and blooms in late spring to early summer.

• If you’re looking for very fragrant flowers, consider hyacinth. Although, like most spring flowers, the bloom is short-lived, their perfume is exquisite. ‘Gipsy Queen’ is a soft apricot color, ‘Jan Bos’ is a carmine-red, and ‘Woodstock’ is maroon. Some daffodils are also very fragrant. Check the package or the catalog description.

Daffodils. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Daffodils. Photo by Ellen Barcel

• If you do go with daffodils and tulips, consider at least some of the more unique ones. ‘Mount Hood’ is a daffodil that has gigantic white flowers, and ‘Green Eyes,’ also a white flower, has a green cup. ‘Exotic Mystery’ is almost completely a pale green while ‘Riot’ has reddish-pink cups. Among the tulips there are double flowers, a wide range of colors and even stripped ones. ‘Ice Cream’ is a really unique tulip. It has white center petals, surrounded by deep pink and green ones. It’s really exquisite. ‘Strawberry Ice Cream’ resembles a peony flower, in deep pink and green.

• Try some new (to you) and unusual bulbs. For example, ‘Candy Cane’ sorrel (oxalis) has white flowers tinged in red. They bloom in spring and even into summer. Another really unusual flower is the dragon flower. The bloom is maroon with a spathe that grows up to three feet. This is a big one and really unusual.

Tulips. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Tulips. Photo by Ellen Barcel

• Remember that certain bulbs are very attractive to squirrels, particularly tulips. There are several ways of handling this problem. One is to surround the tulip bulbs with daffodils. Squirrels don’t like daffodils and will generally stay away from them and the tulips they surround. A second way of dealing with this problem is to plant the tulip bulbs in wire cages. A third possibility, one I heard a planter recommend, is to overplant, that is, plant many more, possibly up to 25 percent more, bulbs than required. That way, the squirrels get some and some survive to grow in the spring.

• If you miss this planting window and the ground is frozen, there are several things you can do. The usual recommendation is to put the bulbs in the fridge until the ground thaws enough to plant them. You could also try planting them in pots and storing the pots in an unheated garage.

• The bulbs you plant this autumn will produce gorgeous flowers next spring. This is based on the professional growers’ treatment of the bulbs. They’ve grown them under ideal conditions, watered and fertilized them. To have them flourish in future years there are several things you need to do. One is to leave the green leaves on the bulbs after the blooms have faded. This is providing food for next year. You also need to add some fertilizer, again to help the bulbs for the following seasons. Make sure you water them in times of drought, even though by midsummer the leaves will have disappeared.

• Because spring bulbs basically disappear from the landscape by midsummer, they are ideal for beds where you intend to plant annuals. Plant the annual seeds in spring and by the time the bulbs have bloomed and faded, the annuals will have started to thrive.

• While you’re planting your spring flowering bulbs, consider also planting lilies, daylilies, peonies and hostas. All are perennials and will reward you next growing season.

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

Last year's second-place winner, ‘Tulip Rhapsody,’ by Steven Selles of Huntington

What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than with a Tulip Festival? The natural beauty of the historic Heckscher Park will once again serve as the backdrop for the Town of Huntington’s highly anticipated signature spring tradition this Sunday, May 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Amanda Camps of Medford won first place in last year’s Tulip Festival photography contest with ‘Peach Princess.’
Amanda Camps of Medford won first place in last year’s Tulip Festival photography contest with ‘Peach Princess.’

Now in its 16th year, the event was the brainchild of Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D).

“From its inception, the Huntington Tulip Festival has been a free, family-oriented, floral celebration held in Heckscher Park. There is live entertainment for all ages on the Chapin Rainbow Stage,  dozens of booths with fun activities for the kids and thousands of bright tulips planted in beds throughout the park,” said Cuthbertson in a recent email, adding “So come out, bring your camera, and enjoy the day!”

In addition to the more than 20,000 tulips to admire throughout the park, cut tulips will be offered for sale by The Flower Petaler with proceeds benefiting the Junior Welfare League of Huntington and there will be a student art exhibit on display near the Chapin Rainbow Stage.

Volunteers are needed to distribute festival programs to visitors. Any person or community group is welcome to volunteer by calling 631- 351-3099.

Photo Contest
Since its inception, Huntington’s Tulip Festival has included an annual photo contest. Entries by amateur and professional photographers will be juried to select the images most evocative of the beauty and family orientation of the festival and must be postmarked or received by July 31, 2016.  Prize-winning images will be used in festival publicity. For details, visit http://www.huntingtonny.gov/TulipFestival PhotoContest.

Entertainment schedule

‘Water for Tulips,’ last year's third-place winner by Frank O’Brien of Huntington Station
‘Water for Tulips,’ last year’s third-place winner by Frank O’Brien of Huntington Station

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Explore the Heckscher Museum. During this annual collaboration with the Town of Huntington, docents will be in the galleries beginning at 2 p.m.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ­— Student Art Contest: Building up to the festival was an art contest for area students organized by the Huntington Arts Council.  Award-winning work will be displayed near the Rainbow Chapin Stage.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Children’s Activity Booths — A diverse selection of free activity booths with creative, hands-on projects for children of all ages will be active in Heckscher Park throughout the festival. Design pasta necklaces, get your face painted, make a windsock, make a handprint Mother’s Day craft, get a tattoo, create a rainbow fish and much, much more.

Noon to 12:45 p.m. — Jazzy Fairy Tales with Louise Rogers on the Rainbow Chapin Stage. The show combines jazz music, storytelling and improvisational theater techniques to teach young children music, literature and social skills.

‘Resting Among the Tulips,’ Honorable Mention last year, by Mary Ruppert of Huntington
‘Resting Among the Tulips,’ Honorable Mention last year, by Mary Ruppert of Huntington

Noon to 4 p.m. — Mask making art activity at the Heckscher Museum. Children of all ages are invited to create a colorful, mixed media mask to celebrate spring and wear at the festival. Free on Museum Terrace.

1 to 1:45 p.m. — Casplash, a Caribbean splash band with Steelpanist Rudi Crichlow, on the Chapin Rainbow Stage. Casplash, a.k.a. Caribbean Splash, plays music made for dancing — from calypso, soca and reggae to pop, funk, R&B and more.  Casplash takes audience members on a fantastic musical escapade via the beautiful sounds of the steel pan, soulful singing and hot tropical rhythms. The band leads audiences in familiar dances such as the electric slide, hokey pokey, conga line and limbo; they also teach a traditional  West Indian follow-the-leader style dance called brown girl in the ring.

2 to 3 p.m. — Songs & Puppetry with Janice Buckner on the Rainbow Chapin Stage. Janice has appeared on radio and television, as well as over 4,000 schools and concert halls.  She entertains audi.ences of all ages with her voice, guitars, puppets and her knowledge of Sign Language for the Deaf.  She is noted for her voice, her creativity and the outstanding quality of her lyrics.

4 p.m. ­— Festival closes (Museum exhibits on view until 5 p.m.)

Members of TULIPS, including Philip Schoppmann, second from the right, celebrate the officer’s Excellence in Suicide Prevention Award. Photo from Philip Schoppmann

Police Officer Philip Schoppmann, a Smithtown resident, has been awarded the Excellence in Suicide Prevention Award. Schoppmann is a Suffolk County police officer at the 5th precinct.

Schoppmann is the founder of Trainers United on Long Island for the Prevention of Suicide, or TULIPS. The volunteer group teaches different communities throughout the state of New York suicide prevention and intervention skills. It was established almost a year ago, and the group travels everywhere, all the way from Buffalo to Montauk.

TULIPS is made up of four trainers and includes social workers, state employees, and a marriage and family therapist. Schoppmann said that the group would help train more than 1,000 people by the end of the year.

“Phil is a huge advocate to raise awareness,” Brooke Yonick, a member of TULIPS and co-worker of Schoppmann said in phone interview. “He works nonstop to do what he can to help anyone in need; police officers, citizens, veterans.”

Schoppmann met the other three members of TULIPS at a training program in Albany, and “he really spearheaded the group by naming us and encouraging us to work together, since we’re all from the same region,” Yonick said.

Diane Sweet, another member of TULIPS, agreed that Schoppmann has been the manager of this organization. “Phil’s got the vision. He is the Indian chief and I am just a very happy follower,” Sweet said in an interview.

Aside from being a member of TULIPS, Schoppmann is actively involved in many other suicide prevention programs. He is a member of the Suicide Prevention Coalition, and he also helped create the Suffolk County police department’s Providing Enforcers Education and Resources group, also known as PEER. PEER supports other area police officers who might be going through troubling times.

Schoppmann received funding through a mini grant from the Mental Health Association of New York State to help create a tool called DISTRACT. DISTRACT is a safety plan to use when working with suicidal individuals.

“We want to distract people from death and help them think about life through this safety plan,” Schoppmann said in a phone interview.

He wanted to create this program because he felt that a lot of suicide prevention programs out there teach you the necessary tools, but do not give you something concrete and tangible to go home with or to give to people with suicidal thoughts. He describes it as a list of tasks for the person to stay safe and stay alive.

“A person can fill this out with you so they feel connected. They can walk away with it, and when they feel depressed and need something to focus on, this can be it,” Schoppmann said.

Schoppmann first got involved in suicide prevention when he was a police officer working in New York City. He volunteered there as a peer support officer, and dealt with police officers who were experiencing suicidal thoughts.

“I was scared,” Schoppmann said. “These officers had guns, and were expressing suicidal thoughts. I had to do something, so I looked into learning skills for prevention.”

When Schoppmann moved out to Smithtown, he carried the ideas of this program with him to Suffolk County, with the PEER program. He resides in Smithtown with his wife Dikea; their two sons, John-Michael and Jordan; and a third baby on the way.

Linda Sherlock-Reich, the final member of TULIPS, said she couldn’t say enough about Schoppmann. “He’s amazing, he’s passionate and he coordinates everything. I always say I think he’s a robot because there is no way a human can accomplish the amount of things that he does.”

If you or a loved one is having suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Huntington Town hosted its 15th Annual Tulip Festival on Sunday, May 3, a springtime festival that is a free, family-oriented, floral event in Heckscher Park. It featured tulips, hands-on children’s activity booths and live entertainment. Hundreds of children and their families attended.

Amy Siebert, of Shirley, takes in the tulips at last year’s festival. File photo by Rohma Abbas

By Julianne Cuba

On Sunday, May 3, the 15th Annual Huntington Tulip Festival will take place in Heckscher Park in Huntington.

Founded by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) and organized by the Town of Huntington, with chief festival sponsorship support from Astoria Bank, the tulip festival will be home to children’s activity booths, art exhibits and live performances. The festival will begin at 11 a.m., rain or shine.

“It’s a small-scale, family-oriented festival that really helps mark the beginning of spring with the blossoming of about 5,000 tulip bulbs,” Cuthbertson said in a phone interview this week.

Presented by the Huntington Arts Council, live performances will begin on the Chapin Rainbow Stage at noon. The Gizmo Guys will take the stage first, with a humor-filled performance appropriate for all ages, according to a town press release.

The Shinnecock American Indian Dancers will take the stage at 1:30 p.m., with a 45-minute dance presentation that will include audience participation. At 2:15 p.m., the Shinnecock American Indian Dancers will lead the re-enactment of the children’s parade that followed the 1920 dedication of Heckscher Park. It will include a new Tulip Festival Hat Contest for children and adults.

Paul Helou, an award-winning songwriter, actor and journalist, will be the final performer on the Chapin Rainbow Stage, at 3 p.m. Helou “performs a [blend] of bluegrass, Americana, roots and folk music for children that are high-energy, interactive events with quality original songs,” according to the press release.

On the same day, the 31st Annual Sheep to Shawl Festival presented by the Huntington Historical Society will take place at the historic Dr. Daniel W. Kissam House Museum and Barn. A free shuttle bus will transport visitors between the festivals.