Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Zillions of Tulips

I did something this past weekend that I've wanted to do since we moved here to Washington state six years ago -- I finally went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

There are a couple of tulip growers in the Skagit Valley that participate in this festival, planting and growing millions of tulip bulbs of all kinds. The one I visited was the largest -- Roozengaarde.

Located in the town of Mount Vernon, Roozengaarde was established in 1985 by the Roozen family and Washington Bulb Company, Inc. The Roozen family business of growing Tulips, Daffodils and Irises is the largest in the world, covering Skagit Valley with more than 1000 acres of field blooms and 16 acres of greenhouses. They also sell bulbs through a catalog, as well as cut flowers.

This interesting fellow greets you above the ticket booth. It's only $5 to get in.

Everywhere you turn, there is a riot of color. The garden beds near the shop are full of swaths of tulips in every possible color and pairing.

Out in the fields are large blocks of color planted in majestic rows.

Personally, I preferred the more intimate beds near the shop, but that might have been because the people were starting to annoy me.


A pair of species tulips. This is more or less what wild tulips looked like, before people started hybridizing them.

They have every kind of tulip you can possibly imagine. They have tulips that look like peonies...

Tulips that look like lilies...

Naughty bits

Tulips that look hungry...

Or like a hairbrush...

Tulips that look like a fiery sunset...

Tulips that look like they're sneezing...

Or dancing...

Tulips doing a fan dance...

More naughty bits

Tulips that look like they have light bulbs inside them...

Tulips as big as my head...

They even have tulips that look like tulips.

They had the most superb examples of my current favorite tulip, Princess Irene. Theirs were so much nicer than the ones I put in my garden this year, much bigger, with better veins and brighter color. I hope I remember to buy more tulip bulbs from them in the fall. I only bought a handful last year, and planted them late.

Isn't Irene a beauty?

Oh My, Oh My! I did enjoy myself.


  1. Wonderful pictures, Alison! They introduce new varieties and change the display garden design every year. We are so lucky to have that place so close!
    Thank you!

  2. Oh my indeed! No need to go to Holland with those displays, just beautiful with all those colours! Just wish tulip blooms lasted longer.

  3. I will not buy tulip bulbs this fall. I will not buy tulip bulbs this fall. Well, maybe if I find some nice purple....

  4. AARRGH--the people! That would bug me, too. I read the blog, onetime, of someone who gardened for a big public garden--he said that the most damage to the beds was caused by people who stepped into the beds (and moms who put their kids in the beds) to pose for pictures. Bet you went to Christianson's, too... :-)

  5. Tulips are not reliable in the ground here and even growing them in pots doesn't guarantee a beautiful display the second year.
    Some of those plants look very much like they are on steroids Alison :) Looks like it was a great place to visit and that couple would have got on my nerves too!
    Super pictures, thanks for sharing.

  6. I first read the ticket price as "only $55" and thought you'd lost your mind saying "only"...$5 is much more reasonable! I went to this a couple of times when I lived in Seattle, it was always such a wonderful day. So did you come home with any cut flowers?

    1. I didn't buy any cut flowers, in fact, I didn't even go into the huge tent where they were selling them. But, as Emily surmised above, I went from here to Christianson's Nursery where I bought plants -- even better than cut flowers.

  7. Thank you for sharing your photos, Alison. I felt a little like I was strolling through the Land of Oz with you. The colors are SO vibrant! I've given up trying to grow tulips here (at least until I cave again and make another fruitless attempt). The ones with the marks that look like paint stripes, like your 'Princess Irene,' are my favorites.

  8. Hooray that you finally made it up to the tulip festival! I haven't been in years but it was an amazing experience. You got some great shots! Can you imagine how much work is involved in planning and planting those beds every fall, to say nothing of taking all of the old bulbs out. Five bucks is a bargain! People can be so irritating! Can't wait to see what you bought at Christianson's.

  9. I am so happy that you finally got to have this experience! I was a regular, many years ago and I loved collecting the yearly poster. Great photo's!! I hope you enjoyed yourself, walking through tulips fields is truly a magical experience.

  10. So easy to be influenced to order up a bunch when faced with such sumptuousness. I especially like the naughty bits of tulips and have been known to make a bouquet of them after the petals have fallen.

  11. Wow! you´ve got your own Keukenhof in Washington!!
    It is stunning and your pictures are beautiful.
    I can see there is always annoying people...I hate that. Why is it so difficult to respect?
    Did I already said that your pictures are beautiful?

  12. You have me laughing! So glad you got to the valley to see the tulips. And you sure did have fun with your camera!
    We take our own display of tulip color from the Princess Irene tulips - orange, pink and purple, with Princess Irene in the mix, of course. After all, it is named after my granddaughter, isn't it?

  13. Soooo amazing. What an awesome outing. I snort laughed at the photo of the dipshits. I need to start hanging out with you. ;)

  14. No shortage of color there! What a fun outing, even if there were a few attendees who can't read.

  15. Why do people always want their photos taken in amongst the flowers, don't they realise the damage they do!
    Wow, we should have been warned to put our sun specs on, the riot of colour is amazing! Definitely equal to the bulb fields of Holland!

  16. Thank you for sharing the beautiful tulip photos! The colors are stunning.
    I feel your annoyance! My husband offered to drive me up to Woodburn, Oregon to the tulip fields this past Sunday. I decided to pass on the offer because I just didn't feel like putting up with the crowd. I remember that the last time we went there were kids running around picking flowers, people walking up and down the rows, practically hurdling the signs that kindly asked them to refrain from doing that. I've been several times in the past so we just went to some local nurseries instead. It was a less stressful day. :-)
    Now that I have seen all your photos I feel as though I went anyway.


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