Ever since I became involved with my lovely wife, who is from Bellingham, we have meant to take a trip to western Washington that coincides with the famous tulip blooms. Unfortunately, life has consistently gotten in the way, and all of our trips have had to be at the time of other events.
Finally, this year, we were able to go in the spring, if unfortunately early into the bloom. My theory was that this was as late in the season as I could afford to take a vacation, especially given the deceptively mild January, but then there turned out to be much bad weather when we were gone anyhow.
Still, enough was in bloom at the famous Roozengarde farm and display garden to get a wonderful feel for the beauty of the site and a close look commercial tulip production.
The founder of Roozengarde, William Roozen, was a Dutch immigrant who arrived in the country in 1947. Dutch immigrants quickly noticed that Skagit Valley had a remarkably similar climate to the Netherlands. Though the Netherlands is not uniquely well suited to tulip growing, the industrious Dutch developed advanced tulip production techniques suited to their climate, becoming the world leader in the trade. Immigrating from the Netherlands, Roozen and a small number of other Dutch immigrants saw a wonderful business opportunity, and founded large-scale tulip production in Skagit County.
Thus, Roozengarde is the heart of American tulip production. And they keep gardens worthy of that distinction.
Beyond the meticulously planned display gardens, it was also nice for a person like me to look closely at the commercial tulip production, though I don’t know if I came to any particularly interesting observations. It was clear from the row spacing and tire tracks that they are perfectly lined up with the width of equipment, so that tires go down the same rows every time. Further, due to the lack of weeds between rows, they must have sprayers spaced between the rows, low to the ground. Given the climate, one has to wonder about the runoff situation this creates. This is especially true given as the exposed soil had a remarkable amount of clay.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience, though I hate to say, seeing a field of common tulips is just a bunch of comon tulips. I wish it would have been later in the season, and we would have also gone to Tulip Town to check out more of the new hybrids, though if one goes later in the season it is known to be egregiously busy.
Anyway, this is far more of a photo album situation than one for putting the pictures within prose, so here is a photo album.