The tale of the tulips in Seminole County

Spring has sprung! Today, March 20th is the first day of Spring – a season of revival, rebirth and renewal. There are so many wonderful things to love about Spring, and here in Donalsonville and Seminole County, one of my favorites, and I am sure one of yours, is the annual appearance of tulips at the homes of Dan and Mary Lou Ponder, Dr. Charles and Jeannie Walker and Melvin and Kathy Fox.
Each year the magnificent burst of color heralding the arrival of Spring is so impressive I began to consider how does this all happen?  I contacted Grant and Kyle Faulk of the Lakewood Landscape Group out of Dothan, the people responsible for the annual show, for the details.
This annual right of Spring in Seminole County is a work of art on their part. It consists of  4,800 individually planted tulip bulbs: 1700 each at the Ponder and Walker home, 850 at the Webb House and 550 at the Fox home. Tulip colors include white, hot pink, yellow, red, orange with yellow trim and light pink.
Each year the bulbs are planted in early to mid December, typically two to three weeks after planting the Winter flowers, and the planting schedule has grown over the years.  It started with one day of planting years ago, but now it takes them up to four days to plant all of the tulips.  The landscape company has three people setting the tulips out and placing them where they go and then have up to seven people that come behind and plant them.  This past December, Lakewood planted a total of 52,000 tulip bulbs company wide – which comes to about 13,000 tulips per work day.
 “We can’t take credit for coming up with the idea for tulips.  They have been around for years and years.  We learned the landscape industry while in school at Auburn University, but refined our processes in the Atlanta area while we worked for Post Properties.  We brought those concepts and techniques to this area when we moved back home to Dothan,” commented Kyle Faulk.
  Kyle and his brother Grant, the Ponders’ son-in-law,  moved home with the grand plan to start a landscape company.  Their plan was to take what they had learned from others in school and in Atlanta and do their best to replicate it here.  
The Ponders were their very first customer. The Faulks worked on the original landscape design for the Ponders’ home while still living in Atlanta.  The project, originally thought to take three weeks to complete, actually ended up taking three months. Lakewood just celebrated their ninth anniversary this month and flower programs and tulips have been a part of Lakewood Landscape from the very start.  
“We remove the tulip bulbs from the beds each year and plant new ones each year.  They do not perform that well after the first year.  Typically about half of them would come up the second year, but the blooms and leaves would be much smaller,” added Faulk.
Customers in Donalsonville and Seminole County helped put Lakewood Landscape on the map and the Faulks are truly grateful for the support of this community.   Faulk concluded by saying, “It makes us so proud to see our designs and presentations develop and grow over time.  They get better every year.”
There are so many great things that happen with the arrival of Spring and we can thank the Faulks for giving us one of the brightest and most colorful events of the season. So, this season be sure to take some time to relax and enjoy the beauty and the treasures of the season. There is so much to enjoy and so much to behold.
Enjoy all of the fun and beauty that Spring has to offer. Happy Spring!

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