Widely known as the “Tulip House,” the property on the corner of Dalhousie and Beach Drive attracts plenty of attention from locals, drive-bys and tourists each spring. Stop by the house for only a few minutes and you’ll notice traffic slow, faces press to windows and pedestrians pause mid-walk to snap photos of the stunning display.
Head Gardener and 30-year Oak Bay resident Bob Fleming stepped outside to photograph the 15-odd impromptu photographers lining the road the morning of June 14, flipping the lens so often directed at his own property on those admirers. With summer here, Fleming cut back his tulips to make way for shades of sunset – a new exhibition drawing a second wave of attention this year.
“We appreciate all the comments,” said Fleming about the visitors to his and Jan Byrum’s property. In the winter, he and his wife plant upwards of 8,500 tulip bulbs, which burst to life in springtime. When cut time comes, the couple trades out the tulips for a variety of bold flowers, including impatiens and petunias.
As if their ambitious gardening here in Oak Bay wasn’t enough, Fleming and Byrum are snowbirds. They spend their winters in the United States and maintain another property there. That might be too much for most, but for Fleming and Byrum, the hours and dirt are worth it.