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In September, I traveled to Houston, Texas, to witness the On the Run II tour, starring Beyoncé and Jay-Z. While entering the stadium with my cousin Mimi, I was stunned at how many tour buses filled the parking lot. It was a reminder of the pre-planning that goes into a phenomenal show.

Pre-planning also goes into the show put on by tulips in spring. It is the reason why when other Americans talk turkey in November, gardeners also talk tulips. They are specialty plantings that require weeks of chilling, and now is time to plant. With too many spectacular varieties to name, check out www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com for ideas.

When installing a plain bed of tulips, till the bed first to make planting easy. Set bulbs out tip-to-tip in staggered rows in the bed. If bulbs are going in a seasonal color bed, set them in the back half to back two-thirds of the bed. Contrast the color of bulb with the plant it is growing through. Let the height of the bulb only surpass under planting by one-third its height. Be sure to throw out any diseased or mushy bulbs.

If using more then one color per bed, set out one color first before adding additional colors to avoid mixing bulbs. If you want colors mixed, do this in the bag or crate prior to planting. Install tulips to a depth of 6 inches (even in pots.) The nose (pointy side) goes up and the roots (flat side) down. Top with light mulch after planting to keep soil in place.

Tulips can bloom early, mid or late in the season. Plant all three and extend the show. Come spring, you can sashay down your driveway waving to the haters while surrounded by tulips in all their glory. And now is the time to get into it!

Abra Lee is a horticulturist extraordinaire and unapologetically passionate about all things gardening. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @conquerthesoil

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