How the Tulips got to Preston Street

West siders may have noticed all the  blooming tulips that appeared on Preston on Saturday. How did they get there?

We’ll skip the months of planning, paying for the bulbs months ago before they were even grown, and jump right to last Friday when the truck arrived:


We’ve already unloaded the centre two columns of boxes to make an aisle, and community gardeners and volunteers carried each box into Tom Brown Arena for refrigerated safe keeping until Saturday.  Each box contains 8 blooming pots of several tulips:


Go ahead and do the math (hint: there’s about 50 boxes).

Before the community arrives, the lonely parking lot has the Pod with the planters inside, and a cubic yard of mulch for topdressing the planters:


The assembly line gets started, opening the cartons, and reminding everyone that the planters get filled with two reds, two white, two reds, etc.



Everyone helps, regardless of size …


Note: we did not require safety helmets, figuring the hazards were minimal:


Once the planters were potted, it was off to the mulch station:




Part way through, we ran out of mulch, and it was off to RCSS in Westboro to buy out all their stock. This guy unloading probably weighed less than the bag of mulch, which was also much taller than him:


Then the mulched planters were put into the UHaul:


Only 17 boxes filled it up ! This would be too slow …



But wait, the boxes stack and lock together for multiple layers … like a container ship:


Another crew of volunteers was ready on the street, unloading a block’s worth of planters and then placing them in front of each business. Then run on to the next block, to unload the next set.

In just a few hours, about 35 volunteers planted  innumerable tulip pots, dressed them, and placed them on the street. We watered them all too … and then on Monday it rained anyway:


Well done.

Afterwards, volunteers stood around for a bit and chatted. The most common comments? That was easy! That was fun !  Are we doing this next year?

Little did they suspect we will be calling them in three weeks to bring all the planters back to the Tom Brown parking lot, to dump the mulch, and put the empty planters back into the Pod.

However, the reward will be thousands of red and white tulip bulbs to plant in community gardens (like along the OTrain path, at Plant Pool, etc)  and for the volunteers’ gardens,  for next year blooms, and mulch for this years gardens.

Community building can be a wonderful experience.

5 thoughts on “How the Tulips got to Preston Street

  1. I love this community spirit! I wonder what Elgin Street will do this Tulip Festival .. last year there were no tulips at all … 🙁

  2. The tulip stands are great and add a lot to the streetscape. Thanks to all the volunteers who were involved in making it happen. I just wish the adjacent property owners would water them and that people would stop using the boxes as garbage cans. The heat wave has really taken a toll on them already and it is just the first weekend of the tulip festival.
    I love the idea of reusing the bulbs and earth/mulch!

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