Green Corners – Ottawa’s Hidden Gem for Tulips

The Canadian Tulip Festival ran virtually this year with great success. Even though the programming did not happen on site, the tulips bloomed across the city and a plethora of entertainment was offered online as the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands was celebrated.

In the fields or on your computer weren’t the only places to see the tulips. Thanks to the Canadian Tulip Festival’s official tulip provider, Green Corners Farm, it was possible to take home a piece of the Canadian Tulip Festival up until the end of tulip season.

Even though the time to get Canadian Tulip Festival tulips has come to an end, the work of the hardworking owners of Green Corners, Allan Groen and Manja Bastian will be remembered as we look to a new year and more tulips.

Green Corners began in 2019 and their first spring has been met with great success and support from the community. Manja Bastian took some time to answer some questions from OFN about Green Corners.

Q + A

OFN: What inspired you to start growing tulips?

Manja: We retired a few years ago and realized we were looking for a challenge. We have travelled extensively and love to visit gardens wherever we go. We wanted to bring something to Ottawa which could be enjoyed by others. After considering several options we decided to give a nod to our Dutch heritage and grow tulips!

OFN: What is the most rewarding thing about growing tulips?

M: It is fantastic to see the tulips in bloom! It is marvellous that they know when to start growing because the conditions are what they need. We also love to see the excitement and anticipation on people’s faces when they first come into the field and know they get to go walk through it all.

OFN: How do you pick the colours of tulips that will bloom/ can you predetermine what they will look like?

M: Tulips bulbs are daughters/clones of their mother bulb so we know what they will look like based on last years bloom. We plan our tulip rows by choosing complimentary colours to be near each other. Our aim is to create a colourful pallet for memorable photos. But honestly, all tulip colours look great together!

OFN: What is one thing that people may not know about growing tulips that is important to you?

M: The top questions we had from visitors was about bulbs! Many people did not know that tulip bulbs are planted in the fall. Or that once the tulip flower is picked, it will not put out a flower again for a few years, if at all. Bulbs need the leaves to fade off naturally in the sun to regenerate energy back into the bulb to flower again.

OFN:What does being the official tulip provider for the Canadian Tulip Festival mean logistically and emotionally?

M: The Canadian Tulip Festival organizers have been very supportive of our venture. The festival helped create awareness about our new venture and we also received a large amount of Liberation75 bulbs from them. We were able to provide them with some of these tulips to give out to frontline workers. We look forward to continue working with the festival as we share the appreciation of tulips with Ottawa.

This is just the first year for Green Corners so keep an eye out for what this tulip farm and its dedicated owners will bring next year.

The pictures were provided by Green Corners.