Living Sustainably: Dig them tulips! Program helps plant community pride

By Jodi Syens, Holland in Bloom
Image result for holland in bloomDo you really dig the tulips? Well, here’s the chance – to dig ‘em up, that is.
The annual Tulip Dig, sponsored by the City of Holland and Holland in Bloom, is scheduled this year for 9 to 11:30 am. Saturday, June 1. Participants are encouraged be there when it starts, as bulbs run out quickly.
To join in, head to one of three city facilities and dig out tulip bulbs to take home for replanting. The locations are: Window on the Waterfront, at Sixth Street between College and Columbia avenues; Centennial Park, at 10th Street between River and Central Avenues; and the three tulip fields at Windmill Island Gardens. The cost for participation is $10 for a five-gallon bucketful. Participants must provide all necessary supplies, such as the bucket, shovel, and gardening gloves.

The public is invited to come and dig up this year’s tulip bulbs to recycle them into their gardens and sustain the community beauty.

Those planning to dig tulips simply must check in and pay at the chosen park, have their bucket tagged, and receive instructions before starting to dig. Tulips may only be dug on the date and times specified, with no digging prior to the 9 a.m. start! Maps and FAQ’s with additional instructions are posted on and the Holland in Bloom Facebook event page.
The city annually plants in excess of 400,000 quality tulip bulbs purchased directly from the Netherlands. In some areas, such as these three prominent city parks, the bulbs are replanted every year.
Prior to 2013, these bulbs were simply dug up or mulched into the ground in preparation for planting new bulbs in the fall. Holland in Bloom proposed that people be given the opportunity to dig up the bulbs and take them home for replanting. The Tulip Dig not only assists the city’s Parks Division staff, who are busy getting tulip beds replanted with summer annuals, but also provides participants with quality tulip bulbs.

A shovel, pail and strong back – and $10 – are all that’s needed to claim a bucketful of this year’s fading tulips.

Holland in Bloom celebrates “the pride planted in our community” through a variety of sustainability and beautification efforts.
The city participated in the America in Bloom National Competition from 2011 through 2016, receiving a 5-out-of-5-bloom rating as well as an Outstanding Achievement Award in one of the six criteria categories in each of those six years. Holland also won the top award in our population category for five years (2011-2015).
In 2017, Holland competed in the Communities in Bloom International Competition, winning the Large Communities category and receiving a 5-bloom silver rating.
Last year, Holland in Bloom focused on supporting significant community efforts such as “The Oz Project” and the urban tree inventory. And it has again entered the America in Bloom National Competition for 2019, so that these and many other important efforts can be highlighted.

  Jodi Syens is a member of the Holland in Bloom Committee and has been involved in the program since it was started in 2011.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Quality of Life: The community, through governmental, religious, business and social organizations, makes decisions that contribute to its own well-being.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.