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A ‘tulip watch’ brings in the season at Myriad Gardens

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- Planted in gray winter as dusty bulbs, they arrive as Orange Queens and Golden Apeldorns.

"When you plant a tulip bulb," says Myriad Gardens Director Maureen Heffernan, "you have to have a lot of faith and optimism that it's going to become this gorgeous creature."

Drive past or, better yet, walk through the Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City and it's the tulips that will catch your eye.

Heffernan says people start to call in late February asking about when the more than 20,000 bulbs here will begin to bloom.

"Everybody calls us and asks," she says. "so there's a real sense of a tulip watch going on in Oklahoma CIty."

Author Micheal Lee West compared tulips to bridesmaids with fat faces.

Another author, Lucy Christopher imagined whispering to the fairies that lived inside their petals, each flower with a different family inside.

Heffernan and others see them as the promise of spring fulfilled.

"It's so great to have in a downtown urban area," Maureen continues. "That sense of spring here, of nature. So I think people really look to the Gardens for that jolt of spring color and sensibility."

Salome, Pink Pearl, and Nigrita for purple; gardeners here paired their colors to fit with native flowers like Red Buds.

The love affair between this flower and this park even extends to seating.

A gift from the Netherlands arrived recently in the form of folding tulip chairs.

Demonstrating, Heffernan says, "They open up like a tulip and you can sit on them. Then, when you're not sitting, they fold back up."

The toils of winter and the promise of spring, they grow here for just a little while, just long enough for a walk in the garden.

Myriad gardeners say the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths will flower into the month of April.

For more information on the Myriad Gardens and gardening tips go to http://www.oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com