Thursday, April 24, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 139

RoozenGaarde tulip fields, Skagit Valley, Washington

This is a postcard from RoozenGaarde in Skagit Valley, Washington where the annual Tulip Festival is held.   It is not a vintage card and the visit to see the tulips was recently so, yes, I get postcards old and new wherever and whenever I can. 

Another view of the fields in bright sun

Tulips, tulips, tulips for as far as one can see in all directions, beautiful rainbows of color especially on a sunny day such as this.  I had never been to the tulip festival in Skagit Valley before so we planned a weekday, weather permitting, when we would have fewer crowds to contend with and more time to leisurely walk through the gardens.  Silly us.  Even though it was a weekday it was quite crowded but according to other people waiting in the entrance line it was not as crowded as the weekend had been.   The growing conditions in Skagit Valley are similar to those in Holland therefore we get incredible blooms here and also bulbs are produced that grow very well in Western Washington.  The flowers are not limited to tulips but also include daffodils, narcissus, iris, hyacinths, and a few other bulb flowers. 

More than one farm or nursery is open for visitors at this time of year but the first one we came to was RoozenGaarde and it is the largest one.  Our plan to visit two or more was scrapped when we realized the size and scope of RoozenGaarde.  Walking around the giant fields first to look at the rainbows of flowers then crossing the street to take in the formal gardens was a day’s worth of viewing as it turned out. 

Dutch windmill in the formal garden area

Here is just a little history and then some flower photos to enjoy.  William Roozen was a Dutch immigrant who arrived in 1947 and by the 1950s had purchased his own farm of about 5 acres.  Since then it has kept expanding until today the Roozen farm covers over 1,000 acres and is the largest tulip bulb producing company in the country and one of the largest employers in the valley.  A few years after he got the original farm he purchased the Washington Bulb Company that now farms 2,000 acres.  In the 1980s Roozen passed the management of the company to his five sons and daughter.  It is still a family owned business today.  The elaborate displays in the formal gardens are redesigned each year with approximately a quarter million spring bulbs and provide brilliant colorful beds of mixed flowers.  An official sponsor of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, RoozenGaarde draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world.  There is a $5.00 admission charge but children under 10 can enter free.

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