ADA, Okla. (KFOR) – If tulips are ‘a tray of jewels’, as E. M. Forster once wrote, Marissa Tucker is the careful jeweler holding them out for the picking in a field south of Ada.
“When the sun hits them they really start poking out,” she smiles. “I have a dream job, right? It’s flowers. It’s magical, and there is something about it. I’m giddy when I’m in the field.”
When she and her family moved out here a few years back, she thought growing lavender might work here, but there were already a few farms growing it in the state.
“I thought for a second,” she recalls, “And then I remembered how much I loved tulips.”
In 2018, the Tucker Tulip Farm opened for business.
A few thousand bulbs soon grew to flowers.
Oklahoma’s extremes are always a problem, but each year since, more blooms came, more varieties, up to 14 now.
She planted 20,000 bulbs by hand this year in sandy soil.
They came a little late but still jostling for the front of the stage in April.
Tucker explains, “I still hand plant because I like them to be in rows of 3 by 3 by 3, with plenty of room for people to walk between.”
The way it works at this U-pick farm, customers pay $5 to get in the gate.
The admission price gets you one flower.
The best way to pick it, insists Marissa, is with a little wiggle and pull.
“I like to not be scared of it,” she demonstrates. “You wiggle and you pull all the way to the top and you can see another six inches of stem that you get.”
Her season is short, maybe a few weeks to a month.
Tulips like cool nights not heat.
But for now, as writer Amy Lowell once put it, ‘Tulips guarded within old red walls embrace, marshalled like soldiers arrayed in happy company. Here infantry wheels out into the sunlight.’
Their marching orders given by a giddy general in one of the only fields like this in Oklahoma.
Tucker’s Tulips hours and availability change with the spring season.
Great State is sponsored by Oklahoma Proton Center