There is no doubt the people of Bendigo and surrounds love their tulips, with hundreds turning out on Tuesday morning for the annual dig for bulbs.
The line at the conservatory gardens, where people could buy bags in which to collect bulbs, stretched for about 100 metres or so at 7am – an hour and a half before the tulip dig began.
City of Greater Bendigo parks and natural reserves manager Debbie Wood and intensive horticulture team leader Brendan Beale estimated the 600 bags available to gardeners sold within 15 to 20 minutes of the event beginning.
The beds in the conservatory and Queen’s gardens at Rosalind Park were quickly filled with eager green thumbs of all ages, keen to take a piece of the city’s famous tulip display home.
And by 9am, the garden beds that not long ago contained thousands of vibrant, beautiful blooms resembled something more like battlefields, littered with the detritus of the tulip plants.
Among those keen to snap up a bargain for their gardens were Bill and Judith Besley, from Eaglehawk.
They said it was the third time they had come along to the dig, which they attended because the bulbs were available so cheaply.
“They put on a beautiful display,” Mrs Besley said.
Unlike some, the Besleys did not have any particular colours or varieties in mind, although they did hear from others where the nicest varieties were.
But their flowers will be a surprise when they come into bloom again next year.
Workmates Holly Childs, Tanya Jeffery, Stacey Stevens and Charlotte Bodenhamer also came out for a morning outing.
While they had heard the dig could get quite competitive, they found it quite civilised, and said people helped out by pointing out where particular colours were located.
Amanda Bourdon travelled to Bendigo from Castlemaine with her family.
It, too, was not the first time she had been and she came prepared, having visited the city’s tulip display earlier in the season to make note of where her preferred colours were to be found.
“[But] I think of lot is lucky dip in the end; you know where they are, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get them,” she said.
Ms Wood said attendees at this year’s event were well-behaved and their attitude was in keeping with the community spirit of the event.
She said council staff were grateful for the response from the public, as well as the opportunity to provide such an opportunity for the community.
Some 30,000 bulbs were planted in the city’s gardens for the famous tulip display, which was first planted in the mid-2000s.
The dig has been going for about five years now.
The City of Greater Bendigo’s intensive horticulture team plants the tulips each year.
But the tulips last only a month and once they are past their best, they are made available for sale to the public.
This year, people were able to purchase four bags each, at $5 per bag.
The council’s horticulture team will now prepare the beds for the planting of annuals.