Spring has come early to the Pacific Northwest this year, and the Skagit Valley tulips are well into their blooming.  It felt to me that there were fewer tulip fields than usual, and we speculated that perhaps some of the fields had already been topped because they bloomed early.  In a more normal year, you can spot bright patches of color dotting the landscape as you traverse the country roads.  This year, we saw just a couple of distant fields apart from the ones of the two big attractions — Roozengaarde and Tulip Town.  But these big fields were simply spectacular.






We arrived way too early for the Roozengaarde display gardens to be open.  But we enjoyed seeing and photographing the tulip beds near the road outside the gate.  Such variety and color!







The annual Tulip Festival runs throughout the month of April, but I’d recommend going sooner than later this year.

Skagit Valley daffodil field

Skagit Valley daffodil field

Washington’s Skagit Valley is well known for its tulip fields and the tulip festival which runs during the month of April.  But the bulb farmers there also plant fields of daffodils, which are coming into bloom right now.  One of the big growers, Roozengaarde, makes a bloom map available online each year.  It’s updated almost daily to show which fields of daffodils and tulips are currently in bloom.

Old weathered barn next to daffodil field, Skagit Valley

Old weathered barn next to daffodil field, Skagit Valley

Old barn with daffodils

Old barn with daffodils

Following the bloom map will take you past scenes like these.  It’s pretty spectacular, even on a rainy day.  My Midwest mind is always tickled by seeing fields of bouquet flowers rather than corn, soybeans, and oats.

Mud in the daffodil fields

Mud in the daffodil fields

Daffodil in the Roozengaarde display garden

Daffodil in the Roozengaarde display garden

Old shed with daffodils

Old shed with daffodils

Nodding buds and blooms

Nodding buds and blooms

Daffodils from the Roozengaarde display garden

Daffodils from the Roozengaarde display garden

Daffy Down Dilly
by Alice C. D. Riley

Dear little Daffy-down-dilly
First flow’r of the spring,
Dancing away with the breezes,
Gladness and sunshine you bring.

Daring the cold of the March winds,
Braving the forests and the snows,
Filling the woods with your glory,
Loveliest flow’r that blows.

Watercolor sketch of daffodils

Watercolor sketch of daffodils


Summer Day Trips

August 16, 2010

This week I took advantage of the summer weather and spent my day off on a road trip to Whidbey Island.  Instead of taking the ferry, I drove through the Skagit Valley and then crossed the Deception Pass Bridge onto the north end of Whidbey Island.  I was by myself, so I could stop on a whim whenever something caught my eye.  It was a perfect day, and I took enough photos for four blog posts!

Barn painting at the Skagit River Produce stand near Conway, WA

I love driving country roads where I can go slow without holding up traffic.

Skagit Valley wheat field with old fence

I stopped at Roozengaarde Flowers & Bulbs

The snapdragons at Roozengaarde were amazingly colorful.

Curtained window at the Rustic Door antiques shop

Early Tulips

March 8, 2010

The Skagit Valley is perhaps best known for its annual Tulip Festival in April.  I would expect that the tulip fields will begin blooming in late March this year.  I thought I might see some ribbons of color in the fields on my weekend drive, but I saw only the yellow of daffodils.  I did see a handful of individually blooming tulips in the demonstration gardens at Roozengaarde.  Many more were still tightly furled buds.

Tulip bed at Roozengaarde

Early tulip bud

The promise of a tulip bud

Unfurled tulip

Yellow tulip just about to burst into bloom

Tulips and shadows

Assembling a fresh bouquet in the Roozengaarde gift shop

Fields of Daffodils

March 7, 2010

Fields of daffodils in bloom in the Skagit Valley

Daffodil fields viewed from the hillside

Rows of daffodils stretch to a vanishing point

Skagit Valley daffodil field

Daffodil field with Cascade Mountains on the horizon

“Daffodils that come before the swallow dares,
and take the winds of March with beauty.”
     — William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale

The daffodils are in bloom in the Skagit Valley.  Farming here is quite different from what I am used to in the Midwest.  Imagine colorful ribbons of blooming flowers instead of fields of corn and soy beans!  And the Skagit Valley is framed by the Cascade Mountains in the east and the Olympic Mountains in the west.  It’s a beautiful place.

The daffodils were at their peak on this weekend’s visit.  Here are some photos of daffodils taken at the Roozengaarde Display Gardens:

White daffodil with frilly pale yellow center

Yellow daffodils in the sunshine

Mixed yellow and orange daffodil