Saturday, May 15, 2010

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

If you've discovered the 'upcoming events' page we added to the site, you would have seen the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival on there a bit ago. I moved to Seattle a month after the festival 2 years ago. Last year I planned poorly and the tulips bloomed early and I didn't make it, and this year, well, I barely made it, but I did, and it was wonderful! Whew. Maybe next year I'll make it at the height of the season.We'll see.

When the fields are in full bloom, there are hundreds of acres of tulips in bloom, as well as daffodils, and later in the season, irises.  There are two locations, Roozengaarde and Tulip Town.  Both have display gardens that are in bloom the whole month, and at the height of the season, Roozengaarde has "a beautiful 3-acre pristine Display Garden planted with over a ¼ million blooming bulbs and bordered by a 30-acre tulip field" while Tulip Town has a variety of indoor and outdoor gardens, vendors and a 15 acre field of late bloomers. 

Since we were a little late to get up to the festival, the 1,000 plus acres of tulip fields had been topped.  Since the tulips are all grown for the bulbs, they cut the flowers off of the step as soon as they start to go by, so that the plant can focus it's energy on producing a bigger bulb.  It's a pretty cool process, but sadly meant that we just saw fields and fields of stems.  We were able to see a giant field of irises though, which were beautiful, and the display gardens were pretty nice.  On the way out, we discovered that Tulip Town still had their field of late bloomers, so we got to peruse that giant field. All in all, it was a nice day to be outside and the flowers were fantastic.

 I have to admit that although I was a little sad we didn't get to see the giant fields in bloom, it was nice to be at the festival with a smaller crowd. People watching was pretty funny, and it was pretty humorous to watch all the little kids. I'm pretty sure at least half of them had a handful of tulip petals and there was one feisty little bugger that I saw take down tulips over and over, aggressively grabbing them with his tiny hands and seeing how many petals he could get off at once before one of his parents anxiously scooped him up and quickly got away from the devastated plant before anyone noticed. Ah yes. The people watching was good.

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