Originally hoping for a bloom date of Easter Sunday, organizers of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival have now pushed the prediction back, to Tuesday or Wednesday.
Running a flower festival can be tricky business, what with Mother Nature in charge of much of the action.
“This is one festival where we have absolutely no control over our star attraction,” said Cindy Verge, executive director of the popular Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Originally hoping for a bloom date of Easter Sunday, organizers have now pushed the prediction back, to Tuesday or Wednesday.
See the pretty photos with this story? Those are from past years.
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But the festival is on nonetheless, with lots to see and do through the end of April. It started last weekend in the broad valley between Mount Vernon and La Conner.
The good news, if you like yellow: The valley’s fields of daffodils, the underappreciated, monochromatic cousins, are still in their prime. And you can see plenty of tulips in the two gardens, RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town, which are planted with early-, mid- and late-blooming varieties.
Once the tulips pop, they draw thousands of visitors. There are tricks to getting that happy tulip experience without the crowds making you wilt:
When to visit
If you want to go for Full Flower Power (not just daffodils and display gardens), you’ll want to wait a few days.
“With these cool temperatures it’s a slow thing, but after (Easter weekend) I think we’re likely to have blooms most of the month,” said tulip grower Brent Roozen.
Verge says the temperature has another effect, too.
“This kind of weather is so good for us,” she said, “because when it stays cool and not real windy, once the flowers start blooming, they’re going to stick around longer than they normally do.
It’s worth the wait. The star attraction is hundreds of acres of farmed tulips grown by Roozen’s Mount Vernon-based Washington Bulb Co., the largest flower-bulb grower in North America. At full bloom, the tulips form unbroken carpets of red, pink, purple and orange, in typical swatches of around 20 acres, or one giant field this year of 100 acres (on Best Road). Old barns and snowy Mount Baker provide photogenic backdrops.
Seattle Times staff reporter Maureen O’Hagan contributed to this report.