LEHI -- The home of the Utah Valley's annual tulip festival put a quarter-million high-end tulip bulbs on sale Friday in an event that has become a holy grail of sorts for Utah gardeners.
Each year following the tulip festival, Thanksgiving Point digs up all 250,000 of the flowers and sells them cheap to the public -- at $3 per dozen, the price is 75 percent off retail. Thanksgiving Point considers the sale a gift to the community, and a way to spread millions of flowers over the years across Utah.
Why not just leave the flowers in the ground, like everyone else does?
"Because when we plant the tulip bulbs, it's a design," said Kaylene Wells, greenhouse manager at Thanksgiving Point. "When tulips die down, they are not pretty. No one is going to pay admission to watch tulip bulbs die down. We take them out to plant the summer annuals, so we always have beautiful designs for everyone to see -- it's all about the show."
The sale has even caused hoopla online. Thanksgiving Point has created a dedicated Facebook fan page for the event, under the name "Tulip Mania Bulb Sale."
"The tulips I bought at the sale last year are perfectly beautiful!" wrote Facebook user Jennifer Inman Morrison on the fan page. "I'm really enjoying having some of Thanksgiving Point at my house this year!"
"I'm getting ready to dig up all my existing tulips and all my flower beds and I've been thinking about buying a bunch of new tulips," wrote Facebook fan Becca Werner Rowley. "I was going to plan the colors ... but a grab bag sounds fun! Can't wait to buy a bunch!"
A grab bag of sorts is exactly what you get, since no one knows for sure what color the bulbs were when they were in bloom.
Many on Friday came early specifically because a few of the tulips were still attached to the bulbs, allowing buyers to get some sense of what color the tulips might be.
But as one woman rummaging deep into flats of bulbs was overheard to say, "You can't really go wrong."
Some shoppers were buying dozens, some hundreds, and some truckloads, Wells said.
The bulbs are $3 per dozen at the Thanksgiving Point Greenhouse, behind the Garden Visitor's Center.
The greenhouse is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. No admission price is required to attend the sale.
For more information, visit ThanksgivingPoint.com, or search for "Tulip Mania Bulb Sale" on Facebook.