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Spring in full bloom

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

More than 340 tulips proclaim the awakening of spring from the front yard of Albert and Rose Hamel.

The Hamels welcome the colors that spring to life before them from their porch swing, across the street from Massey Park on 17th Street.

Albert Hamel, a retired farmer and gardening enthusiast, was quick to share his tulip-growing tips as he pointed to the lawn full of yellow and red tulips blooming Thursday.

"Once you get them started, they start making more bulbs all the time," he said.

"The main part is, when you plant tulips, they like bone meal.

"Drill holes in the grass and put two tablespoons of bone meal in it, cover them and let them go. ... And after that, I give them a little fertilizer, and that's about it."

Rose Hamel added note of caution to her husband's instructions.

"You've got to watch what you plant around them, though," she said. "You can't just plant other stuff around them and think it's going to grow."

Planting the lawn-full of tulips was a matter of dressing the yard up a bit, Albert said.

And each year, it's something of a surprise as to what color of tulips will come up.

Once the bulbs, which were planted four years ago, were established, they required little care.

But the floweres provide a lot of joy for the brief two to three weeks they are in bloom, Albert said.

It's joy the Hamels share with anyone passing by their home, many of whom stop to shoot photos of the tulips in bloom, or to find out more about establishing a tulip garden of their own.

"If anyone wants to make themselves a nice little plot in their yard, tulips are easy to take care of. ... And they are beautiful," Albert said.