Please note: Our Winter Hours begin December 19 and the grounds will be closed December 25 – January 1. 

QR Big Bloom Tour

Big Bloom at Yew Dell

History of the Big Bloom

  • Started in 2019 with 13,580 spring blooming bulbs
    • 2020: 14,772 bulbs
    • 2021: 16,832 bulbs
    • 2022: 20,398 bulbs & introduced Self-Guided Big Bloom QR Code Tour
    • 2023: 15,863 bulbs
  • Designed to spark a passion for plants and get guests excited about the new season
  • Provide inspiration for our guests and encourage others to experiment with their gardens
  • Introduce a new range of community events and workshops 
  • Experiment and trial a variety of spring blooming bulbs
  • Provide a unique opportunity for our volunteers and staff  
  • Make people happy!

Learn more about this year’s display at the bottom of this page!

The Big Bloom 2021

Past Plantings

A learning process...

Examples of fungus (Fusarium) in 2022 

During my undergraduate studies we always heard, but didn’t quite understand, “Horticulture! The ART and SCIENCE of growing plants!” And as we all know, both art and science involve learning a whole lot through trial and error. As gardeners, sometimes our designs don’t work out as intended and we have a tendency to kill an awful lot of plants. But we learn a great deal along the way.  Where I’m going with this is that at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, we have learned a lot from gardening mistakes, — and we love to share our mistakes so we can save you the hassle of learning the same, hard way!

Over the years, we’ve struggled off and on with some challenges with our Big Bloom displays. Disease challenges have led us to reinvent the Big Bloom designs and create more sustainable displays.

Here are a few takeaways you can use in your garden to make growing bulbs much easier!

  • Avoid Monoculture: Planting greater diversity insures that the occasional disease problem won’t wipe out your whole display all at once. If you plant 10% each of 10 different types of bulbs, you’re not likely to lose them all to a single disease or insect problem.
  • Crop Rotation: The same practice used in vegetable/crop production can be utilized in annual/tropical plants. It keeps pests at bay naturally — whether that’s insects, fungi, or viruses. Rather than planting the same variety in the same place year after year after year, changing up your plantings each year can reduce the buildup of crop-specific insect or disease pests.
  • Tulip Hybrids: The large flowering cultivars that we typically think of during spring are among the most susceptible to disease problems and don’t love our heavy Kentucky soils and widely variable spring weather.

-Garden & Arboretum Manager, Sayde Heckman

This season's Big Bloom Plan

With this season’s Big Bloom you’ll notice a couple of things:

  1. Blooms over a longer period of time. Planting just a small number of varieties means that one of those dreaded freezes in the middle of bloom time can do in a whole year’s display. Adding many varieties that bloom at different times means that even if we lose one variety to a freeze or other cause, there are still plenty of others to provide a show.
  2. Diversity, diversity, diversity. For 2023, we planted more than 50 varieties of bulbs from 10 different genera to provide the longest possible bloom season, a viable hedge against insect or disease pests, service more pollinators, and create unique color combinations throughout the season.

Learn More

Staff Planting
Every year, staff from across all of Yew Dell's departments join our horticulture team to plant the display at the front gates.
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Volunteers play a huge part in helping our small-but-mighty garden staff with the annual planting (and removal) of bulbs.
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Bulb Walks
Take a stroll through the re-envisioned Big Bloom! Expect to be blown away by Sayde's latest floral experiment!
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Bulbs at Home
Interested in where we get our bulbs? Click the button below for a list of our favorite bulb sources.
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Big Bloom 2023 Plantings

Contact Us

We’d love to hear from you whether it’s regarding your visit, gardening questions, or sharing a horticultural fun fact!

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