Tulip Forcing with Von Trapp Flowers

I had the pleasure of joining Emily Von Trapp’s tulip forcing workshop on her family farm and nursery in Waitsfield, Vermont this month. If you are interested in tulip growing, I highly recommend attending a program if Emily offers it again.

Forcing bulbs in the winter is a way to substantially extend the growing season here in the northeast, and I expect that Emily’s expertise in this area will become pretty well sought after in the not too distant future.

What is exceptional about her operation? Well, for starters, she is able to supply her customers with flowers when they really want them - the cold, dreary months of January, February, and March, (and even April around here!) - when most of us other growers are sowing seeds and waiting and waiting to see flowers again. Emily says her winter tulip sales far exceed the number of bouquets she’s able to sell in the summer.

Emily has several different outlets for the sale of her flowers, but she is primarily a wholesale grower providing bouquets to local and regional supermarkets. She has lots of information about that process and the means by which she’s grown her business. Over the course of this winter and spring, she’ll be growing and harvesting 80,000 tulips for flower-loving Vermonters during the darkest months of the year. And she has the process down to a science. From pests to climate control to which varieties force best and when to force them - she’s figured it out.

Planting tulip bulbs for winter forcing at the Von Trapp Greenhouse property.

Planting tulip bulbs for winter forcing at the Von Trapp Greenhouse property.

The workshop got my gears turning pretty quickly. One thing I loved about spending time with Emily is that I could tell that she really enjoys finding ways to make things work. She helped each participant walk away with plans that should work on their own farms. I see our rather limited facilities in new light - or through a “tulip lens” now, I guess. And I can’t wait to try my first experiment in bringing cut flowers to sale this winter - hopefully just in time for Valentine’s Day.

It feels a little bold and scary to put it out there. But I’m doing just that. 1,000 flowers for Valentines Day…and hopefully more for winter weddings down the road. For more information about Emily and Von Trapp flowers, click here. I really can’t recommend Emily and the bulb forcing program enough.

Emily is new to offering workshops, but I hope that she’ll open the doors to her operation again soon. She has a wealth of information and, in case you didn’t know, she’s a career teacher so she knows how to deliver all that good stuff! Questions about my review or what you can expect to learn from Emily of you have the opportunity? Let me know in the comments below!