April brings us the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I photographed these beautiful Golden Apeldoorn tulips just around the corner from Dunbar Gardens. This field is located next to McLean Road and has been designated Field 26 on the Roozengaarde “bloom map“. Washington Bulb Company is the largest bulb grower in the US and these tulips are part of their farm production. They have this bloom map on their website that you can check to see the locations of the fields, whether they are in bloom, and which bulb varieties are growing there. This lovely field has Golden Apeldoorn and Elite tulips just beginning to bloom, so it should be a traffic stopper the next couple of weeks.
This year above average temperatures have the tulips blooming on the early side. The tulip festival is designated as the month of April, but visitors have already started coming and the early part of the month will be the best part of the”show”. Yesterday we were treated to these impressive clouds over the valley as well. (Click on photo for larger view.)
The tulip fields have packed soil roads that are used by the farm equipment and workers. As long as you stay on these wide paths you can go into the fields and take a few photos. I like to ride the bike down the road and into the field with my camera. There is a local business Tulip Country Bike Tours that offers bike tours of the flower fields, display gardens, and refreshments and is customized to the weather and field bloom as well as the preference of the group. They usually ride past Dunbar Gardens on their way back to the home base. It’s enjoyable to meet the variety of people from many places who stop in on one of the bike tours. The smiles on their faces are recommendation enough for taking a bike tour instead of hassling with a car on our country roads.
Hopefully when you visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival you might run across one of our signs pointing the way to another roadside attraction! We don’t offer any frills or thrills, but we have this nice selection of willow baskets to check out.
Our small farm is admittedly pretty rustic, and I think many visitors that wander down our driveway are surprised at the quality of the willow baskets that they find in our barn. There are few willow basketmakers around let alone one as accomplished as Katherine Lewis. It is enjoyable to explain how we grow the basketry willows, and show folks the freshly harvested bundles.
Of course, our baskets are available any time of year. We don’t mind if the tulips are the headline act for Spring visitors to our beautiful valley. We figure they will be back to get a taste of the wonderful fruits and vegetables also grown in the valley, take in the Festival of Family Farms in October, or maybe a visit to nearby La Conner to take in the Museum of Northwest Art and eat at our favorite Skagit restaurant Nell Thorn. Stop by, we’re around!