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Archives for December 22, 2017

Village selects new water tower design

As the year comes to an end, the wait over new waterworks for Garden City is officially over. The Tuesday, December 19 meeting of the Board of Trustees delivered a swift pick for one of the village’s most expensive infrastructure investments. The Board unanimously made its choice for approving a new one-million gallon water tank to replace the 84-year-old tank atop the tower on Old Country Road. A new, all-steel pedestal spheroid tank will cost the Village of Garden City $6.738 million in principal as it will feature enhanced paint, so as to reduce some of the long-term maintenance (repainting and caulking) costs.

The vendor is Caldwell Tanks, Inc., which was the low bidder for both of the two tank styles Garden City selected from, as the bid for a third – a glass-fused to steel design tank – did not meet the village’s bid specifications. The Board accepted the all-steel tank design at cost from Caldwell, while rejecting a bid from Statewide Aquastore for its $6.444 million glass-fused to steel composite tank, as was determined ahead of the December 7 trustees’ meeting.

The new tank is expected to last 100 years, and visual appeal – a ‘golf ball on a tee’ look – was part of the Board of Trustees’ decision on Tuesday evening. Longevity and durability were the driving factors, however. Mayor Brian Daughney said he was intent on avoiding two things: structural problems associated with a concrete base for a new tank and also the shadow cast by a bigger structure in place on the Old Country Road area.

Picking up from his thoughts mentioned at the December 7 meeting, this week Trustee Louis Minuto explained the benefit of an all-steel structure, compared with the only other viable option on Tuesday’s agenda, a composite steel tank which would look more like a tower or a (hardware) bolt without a nut, but it would have a concrete/cement base. “We discussed the nature of concrete being a porous material and this part of the world being subject to harsh weather freeze/thaw cycles. Concrete allows water to penetrate and take root inside, when it does freeze it would encourage falling on concrete structures, over time left out in the elements. Inherently there’s a problem to me for something that is supposed to last 100 years to be made and constructed from concrete,” Trustee Minuto said.

He added a point to cap the discussion, saying most bridges in the Northeast U.S. are made of steel for a reason. “Down south you can probably get away with this and I am sure they do put up some towers with concrete there, but it’s extremely rare in this part of the country and part of the word to be constructing things like this with a concrete base,” Minuto said.

The Board easily came to a consensus that the material mattered in terms of a major financial investment to protect a key asset and infrastructure of the village. Deputy Mayor John DeMaro said he was initially in favor of going with the composite steel (bolt-shaped) tank but the comments from Trustee Minuto early in the month resonated. “After hearing about the risks and issues associated with the use of concrete in this part of the country, I am convinced in the long term and long run the village will be better off with the better-looking, all-steel water tank,” DeMaro said.

Minuto added another thought that protects Garden City’s $6.738 million investment: the tank selected should be outfitted with enhanced paint: “That punts downfield the need to repaint and keeping on top of that will definitely be something we have to do from a maintenance standpoint,” he said. Department of Public Works Superintendent Joseph DiFrancisco initiated the board’s discussion on tanks by explaining the design options as well as the $100,000 additional for enhanced paint on the single-pedestal, all steel design and a $66,000 additional sum to have enhanced paint on a composite steel water tank. “As we discussed (at the December 7 meeting) the enhanced paint will add approximately five more years which would take away one paint cycle over the life of the tower (repainting it every 25 years instead of every 20 years). Instead of five paint cycles you would reduce that to four, and I do recommend we accept the enhanced paint,” DiFrancisco said.

The village selected the more expensive of the two, as the composite steel with enhanced paint was at a high estimate of $6.007 million, while the selection for single-pedestal all steel is $6.738 million.

Before the trustees voted on the new tank at their December 19 meeting, Village Treasurer Irene Woo presented a “Water Fund Analysis” Powerpoint and highlighted costs and factors involved in the heavy-duty purchase. She said the actual costs inclusive of contingencies and related services in the project approached $8 million for the village’s pick.

Still undetermined are the specifics of how Garden City intends to pay for the costs of the tank and ancillary expenses, such as the related services of consulting firm H2M Engineering, the paving for the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island’s parking over the grass area, and a $400,000 contingency amount.

Mayor Daughney announced that the Board would not need to decide how the village pays for the tank it picks at this time, but he complimented the financial data and research presented by Woo on Tuesday and the efforts of Trustee Robert Bolebruch, who has served on the Board of Trustee’s finance committee for over three years. The mayor introduced Woo to give an overview of three financing options for the new tank the Board will weigh in early 2018.

“We started off by looking at the highest bid (which the trustees selected) of about $6.8 million. In conjunction with Mr. DiFrancisco and Administrator Ralph Suozzi we added in $400,000 for contingency, $300,000 for H2M Engineering for their construction oversight and management, paving of the EHS parking lot once the water tower project is completed, and funds for financing costs. In total if the highest cost project, the total is expected to be around $8 million,” Woo said.

She spoke about choices for the Board ahead in bonding the total project cost 100%, bonding 75% of it ($6 million) or a third option of financing 50% of the tank’s cost ($4 million) over the next 20 years with the balance to be paid in cash. “The terms most likely are 20, 25 or 30 year financing. Although it is a longterm asset it isn’t realistic to bond over even 40 years – there will probably not be a market out there for such long-term bonds,” she said.

Woo says the potential interest rates she was quoted by the village’s financial advisors come from formula for a Triple A rated municipality, plus 25 basis points of the timing of when Garden City would be in the bond market for the project. “The longer the term of the bonds the higher the interest costs, as well as the longer the term of the bonds the total interest paid would be higher even though the average annual principal and interest payments would be lower,” she said.

Next, Woo detailed the potential impacts to the village’s cash balance depending on what sum is bonded and how interest is paid over time. For example, if the full project cost was bonded the village starts calculating from its cash balance of $14 million. “We projected what the fullyear village revenues would be based on the first six months of actuals (beginning June 1) and the estimated expenses, payments to vendors as well as salary-related expenses. The purchases of capital assets – capital projects in process or expected to be completed by the end of this fiscal year – is $3.9 million. Interest paid on capital debt is the existing debt service, and for the Water Fund we have $9 million outstanding principal and interest on old projects that have been bonded. We are anticipating ending the 2017-2018 fiscal year with $11 million (May 31, 2018) and with the 100% financing option there is no cash outlay, so we would carry the amount forward,” Woo explained.

Trustee Delany was first to speak about his choice on Tuesday, while Mayor Daughney, DeMaro and Minuto all vouched for the benefits all-steel with enhanced paint. After the financial projections, the Board reached its decision on the water tower style within minutes as the trustees remained in favor of the single pedestal, all steel tank, as Trustee Bolebruch adamantly endorsed at the close of the last meeting on December 7.

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Y Pant School wins RHS Garden Design competition | News | The …

Thursday, 21 December 2017

By Contributed Item
in Education

A team of six pupils from Y Pant School in Talbot Green has created the winning garden design in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) ‘Green Plan It Challenge’ for Wales and the south-west of England.

The 10-week challenge involved over 100 12–14 year-olds developing a design for a new school or community garden, working alongside professional garden designers and landscape architects.

The group of students presented their imaginative 3D design for a new conservation garden at Bristol Botanic Garden on December 7, competing against seven other schools.

The team’s design is for a meadow garden to help conserve the population of threatened Marsh Fritillary butterflies. It includes the plant Devil’s Bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis) which is an essential food source for the butterflies.

The pupils have been raising funds to develop a space next to the school into the habitat.

An RHS?spokesperson said:?“The challenge encouraged pupils to consider the benefits of communal green spaces and explore environmental issues while developing leadership, teamwork and creative skills.

“The team said that winning the challenge was a ‘brilliant end to a great project and a great reward for the hard work.’”

Four other schools walked away with prizes. Downend School in Bristol scooped the most innovative design award for a garden with a bicycle-driven irrigation system, while students voted Westbourne School in Penarth and Bristol’s Fairfield High School’s designs as their favourites.

This is the second year that the RHS has run the Green Plan It Challenge with nearly 1,000 young people taking part across eight UK-wide hubs, from Edinburgh to Bristol.

Speaking about the project, RHS head of community outreach, Andrea Van-Sittart said: “The Green Plan It Challenge is designed to support young people to develop a host of new skills including teamwork, creativity and problem-solving, and, we hope to inspire some future Alan Titchmarshs and Monty Dons.

“All of the entries reveal an understanding of the important role that gardens can play both in terms of providing space to work and reflect and as a home for wildlife and the plants they rely on. We’d love to see some of these gardens come to fruition as we set about greening our grey Britain.”

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Hilltop Arboretum symposium to offer alternatives to traditional …

Claudia West will talk about the future of planting design in a presentation on an alternative to traditional horticulture at the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum’s “Planting in a Post-Wild World” symposium Saturday, Jan. 13.

Known for her passionate advocacy of plant-driven design, West applies the technologies of plant systems to bring pragmatic solutions to an urbanizing world. She has worked as a designer, grower, installer and land manager. 

The symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the newly renovated LSU Design Auditorium, 302 Field House Drive. Registration by Jan. 5 is $70, $20 for students and $55 for Friends members. After Jan. 5, registration is $80, $30 for students and $65 for members. For more information and to register, visit, email or call (225) 767-6916.

West will talk about gardeners’ opportunity and responsibility to bring wildness and ecological value back into landscapes. She will explore the differences between the way plants grow in the wild and the way they grow in designed landscapes for your garden and present strategies for creating aesthetic frames around mixed plantings to make them more attractive and appealing. She also will explain how to use site constraints as assets and minimize site preparation.

In addition, West will talk about bridging the gap between great garden design and ecology responses and the science of successful planting systems. 

Hilltop’s Hodge Podge volunteers will offer an extensive collection of native plants for sale, including ground covers, perennials, shrubs, understory trees and canopy trees. Their new cookbook, “Passalong Recipes From the Podge: Digging Deeper,” will be available for sale along with tastings of their favorite recipes.

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Best Practice – Productivity through technology

Landscape businesses aren’t always the most forward-thinking when it comes to using technology. However, anyone with aspirations to grow their business must embrace technology and new business apps in order to improve efficiencies within their team, as well as with clients, says MICHAEL JOHN McGARR.

Many landscapers are not the most tech-savvy because they and their employees are out on site much of the time, and not necessarily office-based. However, using new web-based apps on smartphones and tablets is the ideal way for anyone grow their business.

Web-based apps can be accessed from any device, whether that’s from home or the office, or on the move. This enables a growing business to share information, keep all paperwork online digitally, and allows directors and anyone else involved in the business, such as accountants, to access up-to-date information at all times.

They are also the ideal way to manage a team by organising their schedules, having regular communication and allowing them to update their own projects online.

In addition to this, clients are also getting more tech-savvy. The majority of customers no longer want quotes posted to them or have to phone you every time they have a minor query. They want to be able to get a quick response to their queries and have information accessible online at all times. There are few people who don’t own a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop these days, so it’s easy for both clients and employees to access the correct app or software.

It’s worth investing the time to train your team of employees in how you want them to communicate and share information.



  • Use a workflow app for better communication


When managing a team of landscapers, it’s really important to stay up-to-date on their progress in order to keep track of timescales, deliveries and expenses, as well as being able to keep the client updated. Trello is one example of an incredibly easy-to-use, web-based app, which enables you to set up different boards for each project. You can create to-do lists, keep notes of important contacts and phone numbers and keep the rest of your team updated with your progress, as well as assigning tasks to people.

You can add different people to the different boards, so only the relevant people have access to this information. As this app is cloud-based, everyone sees an updated version at all times. Many clients will appreciate having access to relevant project information, which should include written quotes, predicted timescales, links or images to products being used and daily photographs of the progress.

Other similar project management apps include Slack, Asana and Basecamp. In addition to Trello, we also use Timetastic to help us organise annual leave for staff, which I would also recommend.



  • Make your accounting digital


Anyone who keeps business receipts in their wallet, their car and in a small pile on their desk, should really think again. The same goes for anyone who has boxes of receipts to deliver to their book-keeper to input into a spreadsheet. There has been an increase in highly affordable accounting software launched recently, which actually enables business to do their own book keeping and payroll quickly and efficiently, as well as seeing their up-to-date finances instantly. They can also be linked to their accountant, who then has all the accounts information in order to file tax returns and calculate corporation tax.

Web-based software such as Xero and Quickbooks enable businesses to link up with their bank account, input all income and outgoings daily, take images of receipts to upload and send invoices.

It may be worth paying an accountant who is familiar with the particular software to set it up for you, but it will be worth it in the end. It’s also worth downloading the mobile phone app, as well as using the website, to keep accounts up to date where ever you are.


  1. Streamline your social media

It’s incredibly hard for any landscaping business to manage all of their social media networks, but it’s completely necessary for any growing business. For any ambitious landscape business, showcasing your work publically is essential to the growth of your company.

Businesses that do not have comprehensive profiles on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are without a doubt losing business. Today’s consumers want to see examples of current work to get a sense of your business’s style, but also to build trust and to see how you work. Luckily landscaping is a really visual businesses, so it’s easy to showcase progress photos, our initial designs and of course, the finished product, across all social media channels.

There are many different social media apps, some with free access, and more detailed ones that have a monthly subscription. We use Statusbrew, but also like Hootsuite and Sprout Social. It’s massively beneficial to be able to post across all networks from one dashboard, as well as being able to reply to messages and follow important hashtags or topics.



  • Online idea and planning boards


By using websites such as Pinterest or Houzz, you can build up visual idea boards to share with clients, which they can feed back on. You can also ask your clients to start creating their own idea board on Pinterest or Houzz, or simply to collect images that they like, to help you get an understanding of their preferences and style. Doing this can save so much time if you have a visual guide of ideas and inspiration that your client has chosen.


  1. Google Business apps

Google Business apps are well worth paying for and setting up across your team. Not only will it enable them to access their email and calendars across multiple devices, but you can share team information using Google Calendar. You can give other people access to your calendar, or vice versa, well as setting up team calendars in order to ensure everyone has visibility of ongoing work schedules. Google Drive is a useful alternative to Word and Excel because you will always have an updated version whichever computer you open it on, and you can easily share and edit documents with employees and clients.

We also use a free add-on app called Boomerang which enables you to schedule emails and set up read receipts

for sent emails too. It might feel as though you don’t have time to implement new methods of working and to train your team on using them. Try out one new method of organising workflow using a new app or website at a time. Take your time to understand the best way to use it before you ask your whole team to implement it. Some people might need more training than others, or reminding to use the app to communicate and update information on.

However, for any business to grow and develop, it’s so important to put that time aside to strategically plan and assess your current workflow methods.


About the author

Michael John McGarr is the founder and director of Warnes McGarr Co, based in Wigan, Greater Manchester. The business specialises in designing and building high-end gardens and contemporary outdoor living spaces. Michael also offers a consultation service for both residential and commercial outdoor spaces, as well as providing ecology reports for Paragraph 55 planning applications.



01942 375 515 or

For more information visit:


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Brookdale Senior Living buries time capsule

Whenever Jordan Hensley posts new content, you’ll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

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Colonial Williamsburg Christmas with Susan Dippre – Home Front

Colonial Williamsburg holiday decorations expert Susan Dippre has spent decades creating festive holiday wreaths and swags from natural materials for the historic houses on the streets of the colonial town. Susan, who is the former decor and landscape manager at Colonial Williamsburg, is now a consultant for them. She also runs her own design firm. She conducts demonstrations and workshops on how to decorate with greenery, fruit and oyster shells in the traditional Colonial Williamsburg style.

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. She and weekly guests, whether Martha Stewart, the Property Brothers or Nate Berkus, answer your decorating and design questions. Jura is always happy to whip out her paint chips, track down a hard-to-find piece of furniture or offer her seasoned advice on practical living and decluttering. For more than 10 years, Home Front has been an online conversation about the best way to make your home comfortable, stylish and fun. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and gripes. No problem is too big or too small, send them over.

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Famed Grey Gardens estate closes for $15.5M

The historic Grey Gardens estate—made famous by a 1975 documentary with the same name—has officially sold with a final sales price of $15.5 million, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Owner Sally Quinn purchased the property from Big and Little Edie back in 1979 with her late husband, Ben Bradlee. The couple spent $220,000 on the estate itself, and ended up putting almost $600,000 into restoring the structure.

Quinn put the property at 3 West End Road in the Georgica section of East Hampton up for sale earlier this year in February for almost $20 million under Corcoran Group Real Estate agent, Michael Schultz.

There has been no comment on the buyer at this time, though it’s been mentioned that the person plans to preserve the history of the home.

Built in 1897, the 6,000-square-foot home has seven bedrooms and sits on nearly two full acres of land. Features include a swimming pool, a tennis court, and exterior gardens throughout the landscaping.

Below are some photos of what the home looked like before the renovation, courtesy of Sally Quinn:

In October, the estate made headlines when it went into contract, with the most recent asking price being $17,995,000. Just a month later, Quinn hosted an estate sale in which she sold some of Big and Little Edie’s furniture, which the women left behind to Quinn and Bradlee in the sale of the home. The estate sale attracted hundreds of people.

The sale is coming just months after Sally Quinn released her memoir, Finding Magic.

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Landscaping: Hanging gardens enhance softscape

For the garden enthusiasts with a hodgepodge of plant collections that probably might just be their priceless possessions, there comes a time when we feel that most of our outdoor space allocated for our potted plants becomes too crowded.

In a different scenario, especially after a heavy downpour, we also tend to feel a bit riled up when our precious flowers are soiled or at times have its head on the ground. Fortunately, we can overcome both these situations by planting them in a hanging basket.

Not only that having these plants in hanging basket can totally maximise the limited space in the garden, when displayed from a higher or at eye level, these plants would have a nice natural flowing effect. As a bonus, perhaps these plants will draw honeyeater birds and butterflies.

Most importantly, whatever plants that you choose in your hanging baskets, it must be pendulous, creeping and top-heavy. Here are some recommended flowering and non-flowering plants which are ideal for your softscape enhancement.

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Gardening: Belle Isle conservatory plans Oudolf garden

If you haven’t visited Belle Isle in the past few years, put it on your “must do” list for 2018. Since the Michigan Department of Natural Resources took over the operations in 2014, the island park is well on its way to becoming the shining jewel it once was.

Under the direction of horticulturist Jeremy Kemp, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory currently houses a huge and diverse assemblage of tropical plants, including extensive collections of ferns, cacti, succulents and orchids. A visit to the conservatory in the dead of winter is a perfect way to find respite from the winter blues in a balmy setting stuffed with lush greenery and blooming plants. If you have a state park pass, entry to the island is free and there is no cost to visit the conservatory. While you’re there, plan to visit the Belle Isle Aquarium next door. It, too, has free admission. A daily pass to access the island is $9.

More exciting news is in the near future Belle Isle will feature a spectacular display of modern landscaping created by the internationally renowned garden designer Piet Oudolf.

The Dutch designer — who has been likened by some to the late famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park in New York City and Belle Isle — was charmed by the island, and it’s there that he can see one of his famed gardens.

Oudolf is a rock star in his world, says immediate past President Maura Campbell of the Garden Club of Michigan, who is spearheading the project.

Oudolf designed the famed Lurie Garden in Millennium Park in Chicago, several gardens at Battery Park in New York City and the full design of the High Line Gardens in Manhattan, as well as gardens throughout Europe.

Now the hard work of raising the money begins. Like the High Line Gardens in Manhattan, the Oudolf garden on Belle Isle will be a public-private partnership. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and a nonprofit organization will provide the financing and personnel to maintain the garden. Along with paid staff, volunteers will be a big part of the mix.

A feature length documentary, “Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf,” will be screened at the Detroit Institute of Arts at 7 p.m Jan. 4, as a fundraiser. To view the trailer go to Tickets for this event are $10, and may be ordered from DIA box office, (313) 833-7900, or

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnewscom/homestyle.

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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Garden Guide: Get Black Tulips And Other Rares

If you’ve checked out Animal Crossing Pocket Camp lately, you’ll notice a pretty sizeable update: gardening, a beloved core part of the main franchise, is now part of the mobile spinoff. We have a complete guide to the basics of gardening in Pocket Camp, but if you’ve mastered the simple stuff like how to buy seeds, why to water your friends’ flowers and what cross-pollination is, you’re ready to move on to more advanced gardening tactics. Learn how to get the rarest flowers, like black tulips, coral pansies and more through strategic cross-pollination in our garden guide below.

Remember: Lloid sells flower seeds for 80 Bells each. You can purchase Red Pansy, Yellow Pansy, Red Tulip, and Orange Tulip seeds from him. These starter plants will get you all the way to Yellow-Blue Pansies and Black Tulips by following the cross-pollination tips below.

Also note: it doesn’t matter which flower is used for cross-pollinating and which flower is in your inventory. There is also a chance of failing in any cross-pollination, in which case you won’t get any seeds. Finally, you can check out all currently available flowers and colors in the Flower Trade page when you talk to Lloid.

  • Red + Red: Red, Yellow

  • Red + Orange: Red, Yellow, White, Black, Pink

  • Orange + Orange: Red, Orange, Yellow, White, Pink, Black

  • Red + Yellow: Red, Yellow, Pink

  • Yellow + Orange: Orange, Yellow, White, Pink, Black

  • Yellow + Yellow: Orange, Pink, White, Yellow

  • White + Red: Red, Black, Yellow, Pink, Orange

  • White + Orange: Orange, White, Black, Blue

  • White + Yellow: Yellow, White, Pink, Purple, Black

  • White + White: White

  • Pink + Red: Red, Yellow, Pink, Purple

  • Pink + Orange: Orange, Pink, White, Black

  • Pink + Yellow: Yellow, White, Black, Purple, Orange

  • Pink + White: White, Pink, Black

  • Purple + Red: Red, Black, Pink, Yellow, White

  • Purple + Orange: Orange, White, Blue, Black, Pink, Purple

  • Purple + Yellow: Orange, White, Blue, Black, Pink, Purple

  • Purple + White: Blue

  • Black + Red: Red, Yellow, Pink, White

  • Black + Orange: Orange, Black, White, Purple

  • Black + Yellow: Yellow, Orange, White, Black

  • Black + White: Black

  • Blue + Red: Red, Pink, Yellow

A picture guide to cross-pollinating in Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. Photo: VIA Mistreil on Reddit

  • Red + Red: Red, White

  • Red + Orange: Red, Yellow, Orange

  • Orange + Orange: Red, Coral

  • Yellow + Red: Red, Orange, Yellow, White

  • Yellow + Orange: Red, Yellow, Coral

  • Yellow + Yellow: Yellow, Coral, White

  • White + Red: Red, White, Coral

  • White + Orange: Red, Yellow, White

  • White + Yellow: Yellow, Coral, White

  • White + White: White

  • Purple + Yellow: Coral

  • Purple + Purple: Purple

  • Blue + Red: Blue, Purple, Red-Blue

  • Blue + Yellow: Yellow-Blue, White, Coral

  • Blue + White: White

  • Yellow-Blue + Orange: Yellow-Blue

  • Yellow-Blue + Yellow: Yellow, Coral, Blue, Yellow-Blue

  • Red-Blue + Red: Purple, Blue

  • Red-Blue + Yellow: Yellow-Blue

  • Coral + Red: White, Coral, Red, Blue

  • Coral + Orange: Red, White, Coral, Yellow

  • Coral + Yellow: Yellow, White, Coral

  • Coral + White: White, Coral

You might notice that some combinations are missing, such as Blue Tulips with White, Yellow or Orange Tulips. Do you have the info we need? Feel free to let us know the results of your cross-pollination gardening experiments in our comments section below.


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