A few years back I visited Skagit Valley in Washington state where each year they delight visitors with a little taste of what Holland’s tulip farms might be like during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The area is home to many producers of spring flowers including tulips, daffodils, and irises.
The festival runs April 1-30 of any given year and a quick look at the bloom map will tell you which of the fields are in full glory. Bloom times are always subject to Mother Nature’s schedule, but you can usually find a couple fields of tulips in bloom in the middle of the month. However, you’d best be quick because the blooms don’t last more than 2 weeks before they are cut, bulbs removed, and soil turned for another year.
As I took photos, I remembered sensory delights from the Tulip Festival not far from here and decided to share the photos. How could I not? Wow. Look at those gorgeous flowers.
How to Grow Tulips
- Tulip bulbs are planted in the fall: in early October before the first frost. Never fear, if you missed planting last fall you can buy potted tulips that are blooming. Enjoy them in the pot and transplant into the garden when the leaves begin to yellow.
- Most tulips grow best in full sun in loose, rich soil with good drainage. Make sure to plant bulbs where you have room for them to grow (i.e.: enough height and space between other plantings).
- Plant bulbs in groups of 5 to 9. Odd-numbered plantings in groups (as opposed to lines) present a more pleasing and natural looking display.
- Plant bulbs approximately 6” deep, with the pointy end facing up and the roots down. Mark the area where you have planted, and cover with a layer of mulch such as leaves, peat moss, or pine needles to protect over winter.
To see the tulips, head to the Skagit Valley in Washington state, 60 miles north of Seattle and 70 miles south of Vancouver, BC, Canada. Print off this map as the fields don’t have addresses. The location changes every year so this map is your best tool. If you happen to miss the tulip fields in full bloom, you can also check out the tulip demonstration gardens at Tulip Town.
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