the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Tulip Time

Tulip Town

Tulip field at Tulip Town

April in the Skagit Valley is one on the photographic highlights of Washington State. April is when the tulip and daffodil fields west of Mount Vernon are in bloom (actually, the daffodils typically start blooming in March). These fields, and the month-long Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, attract big crowds – and, therefore, I’ve avoided them for years (actually I did photograph some of the early daffodil fields a few years back, visiting at non-busy time). However, I did venture up to the fields last Friday – and wow, was I missing out by not going earlier. Actually, I picked a good day. It was rainy in Seattle and Tacoma, but not too bad up in Mount Vernon, and the weather may have kept the crowds down (being a weekday also helped). There still were plenty of people, just not the mobs the flowers attract like bees on sunny weekends.

Odd Man Out

It’s fun to look for the odd mismatches in the tulip fields.

Here’s a quick report:

  • best time to go – go now! The tulips are at their peak. The early tulips have already been headed (the growers de-head the tulips to prevent disease and promote bulb growth, and the longer you wait, the more flowers will be de-headed), the mid-season tulips are in full bloom, and the late-season ones are just starting. Most the daffodil fields are long-past their prime, though a few still have decent flowers.
  • best display garden – Roozengaarde. There are two major tulip growers in the valley, Roozengaarde (a division of Washington Bulb) and Tulip Town. Both have display gardens. Roozengaarde’s is larger and better developed. There is an entry fee of $5 – well worth it. This fee also gets you into their tulip field across the road. Roozengaarde’s other tulip fields, elsewhere in valley, are free to visit.
  • best tulip field – Tulip Town. Behind the display garden at Tulip Town is relatively small tulip field, but one packed with lots of colors and varieties. Most the other tulip fields in the valley are very large, and though they may have several varieties of tulips, it’s difficult to get more than a couple of varieties into a single image. No such problem at Tulip Town. Another big advantage at Tulip Town is two red barns next to the field that make good backgrounds. Like Roozengaarde, there is a $5 entry fee.
  • weather – it rains a lot in the area in April, you just have to work with it. Sunny days (like today) are great, but not very predictable unless you have a flexible schedule. You can make great photos on cloudy days, or even in the rain (as long it is not a downpour).
  • footwear – the fields are muddy – extremely muddy if it has rained lately. Wear boots. I wore hiking boots; many people had rubber bo0ts.
  • pets – of course, Tanya and I had Carson with us. Dogs are not allowed in the display garden at Roozengaarde or in Tulip Town, but are allowed in most the fields. Carson had a great time laying in mud puddles.
  • parking – the entrance fee to Roozengaarde also pays for parking at their fields – assuming the parking lots are open (they close if it is too muddy). There is also a parking lot at Tulip Town. Otherwise, you will need to park on the road. Be warned: if any part of your car is across the marking the edge of the road, you will get ticketed. The local cops were out in force when we were there.
Display Garden

Colors in the Roozengaarde display garden

Tulips with Frills on Top

Frilly topped tulips

Tanya and Carson with Tulips

Tanya and Carson enjoy the tulip fields – okay, Tanya enjoyed the tulips, Carson enjoyed the mud puddles!

Roozengaarde

Another scene from the Roozengaarde display garden

Tulip Town Again

And another from Tulip Town

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9 responses

  1. Love the colorful flowers!
    -Jen
    https://thelilyandthemarrow.wordpress.com/

    April 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm

  2. wooowww I just love it!!!

    April 24, 2013 at 2:03 am

  3. Joe,
    Beautiful and the rain brings out the nice saturation of the colors. Looking at your site is always a nice reminder for me when I grew up in University Place. Both Tanya and Carson look very happy in the mud puddle.
    Tom

    April 24, 2013 at 4:45 am

    • Thanks Tom. Yes, it was nice light, and the wet flowers made the colors pop.

      April 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm

  4. Pingback: Skagit Valley Tulip Fields | John Roberts Photography (and other stuff)

  5. So glad I found your blog. Your photos are so inspiring. I look forward to seeing more.

    May 2, 2013 at 8:00 pm

  6. Shooken

    WOW ! Beautiful flowers!! Great colours there too!!! 🙂

    May 14, 2013 at 4:46 am

  7. Pingback: Of Geese and Daffodils | joebeckerphoto

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