"The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here."
So penned Sylvia Plath in her famous poem, "Tulips," but here on Long Island, the sun is warming up the soil enough to welcome the beautiful flowers.
While they only stay around for a short while, tulips capture the heart of garden lovers with their bright colors and dainty petal perfection.
In May, several places will show off their own tulip mania with family-friendly festivals starring tens of thousands of the plants cheerily dotting the landscape.
So, tiptoe through (OK, alongside) the tulips to enjoy these events, where you can also see a Shakespeare performance, enjoy a Native American powwow or clip your own flowers.
1. GARDEN OF EVE
You've heard of pick-your-own strawberries? Now you can pick your own tulips, too.
Garden of Eve, an organic farm in business for 15 years, hosts a new month-long organic tulip festival where visitors can cut their own flowers or set up some memorable photo ops.
The growers are expecting more than 30,000 organic tulips to bloom in an acre of farmland.
"It's bee friendly, which is so important today," says Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht, who owns the farm with her husband, Chris. "It's great that something so beautiful as a tulip can benefit bees."
Check out organictulipfestival.com for the "bloom report" before heading out. No need to bring clippers, but a bucket or basket to collect the flowers is helpful, organizers say.
WHEN | WHERE 9 a.m.-6 p.m. u-pick daily May 2-24 with special events and workshops on weekends at 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead. Check the bloom report before heading out.
INFO 631-722-8777, gardenofevefarm.com
ADMISSION $4 entry (free ages 6 and younger), plus $1 per stem for U-pick
2. HUNTINGTON TULIP FESTIVAL
About 20,000 tulips grace Heckscher Park, making it a great place to celebrate the flower.
The festival, now in its 15th year, has more activities than ever, including theatrical performances by the circus-themed "The Gizmo Guys" (noon-12:45 p.m.) and bluegrass-folk singer Paul Helou (3-3:45 p.m.)
"It's part of kicking off spring, and being able to take memento-type photos that people enjoy," says Mark Cuthbertson, Huntington Town councilman and festival founder.
The Shinnecock American Indian Dancers are scheduled to perform in full powwow clothing (1:30 p.m.) and lead the traditional children's parade (2:15 p.m.), in keeping with the first one held at the park's dedication in 1920, Cuthbertson says.
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 3 at 2 Prime Ave. at Route 25A, Huntington
INFO 631-351-3099, huntingtonny.gov/tulipfestival
3. HOFSTRA FAMILY DUTCH FESTIVAL
While the tulip festival has been a staple at Hofstra University for 32 years, this year it has been refashioned to include more student participation and kid-friendly activities.
But the tulips still take top billing.
Thousands of them dot the south campus, a state-registered arboretum, as an homage to the Dutch heritage of university founder William Hofstra. The school even introduced its own variety of the flower, the Hofstra University tulip, in 1985.
Two stages will have music and theatrical performances by students throughout the day, including an hourlong version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by the drama department (12-1 p.m.), gospel choir (11:15 a.m.) and "The Three Little Pigs" production by the school's student-run Spectrum Theater (1:30-2 p.m.)
Carnival games and rides are new this year, as well as free workshops by the school's dance students (2:30 p.m.) and ceramic demonstrations by its art students throughout day.
But there is plenty to do sans kids, too. Vendors sell their wares among the tulips, including clothing, jewelry, and organic products. Kaas & Co. will be on hand again, selling authentic Dutch products.
This is the first time the event will have free admission and will be held on a Saturday.
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 9 at Hofstra University, Hempstead
INFO 516-463-6582, hofstra.edu/festivals