Tulip Town, USA
A feast for the eyes
COLOR in a vast variety of shades and shapes is what will greet your eyes in Tulip Town at the time of the annual Tulip Festival. Delightful fragrance will fill the air. You will marvel at the floral handiwork of the Creator as you gaze upon the multitude of tulips that are, "arrayed in a beauty that more than matches the glory of King Solomon." -Matt. 6:28, 29.
The Skagit Valley hosts one of the world's largest tulip festivals. These spring flowers, thrive in this unique valley climate and fertile fields. You can enjoy fields of color in a natural setting, learn about the bulb farms that produce these wonders, and appreciate some of the great artists who call Skagit Valley home. Mt. Vernon, some 60 miles North of Seattle and 90 miles South of Vancouver, B.C., is where you must go on the right dates if you would enjoy this feast for the eyes at Tulip Town.
You Won't Want To Miss Them - The tulips are beautiful
SKAGIT VALLEY TULIP FESTIVAL runs the whole month of April, but tulip appearance is up to Mother Nature. Tulip Town is open until the tulips are no longer presentable.
The Tulip Festival is now in its 30th year! Prior to that, tulips were grown in the Valley and shipped around the world as bulbs. That is still going on today, with the world's largest bulb farm operating right here. When you gaze out over the thousands of acres of blooming tulips, just think of all the people who will plant these very bulbs in their gardens next year!
On the outskirts of town lie the flat, agricultural fields of RoozenGaarde and the Washington Bulb Co. What amazes me more than anything about this celebration of tulips is that the main spectacle, the flowers themselves, are nothing more than a by-product of the real profit maker, that is, the bulbs which are eventually dug and sold throughout the world. It's a win-win situation for the landowners. Charge fees to view the flower fields, sell the fresh-cut flowers on site, and then dig the fields up and sell the bulbs.
A beautiful business!
The pictures in this lens have been contributed by Will Borden.
More of these tulip photos may be viewed at www.willborden.com
Will has a letter from Jeannette DeGoede, owner of Skagit Valley Bulb Farm, giving him permission to use these pictures as he wishes.
Please do not violate the copyright.
Map to Tulip Town
I recommend that you print this map off before you travel to Tulip Town. There are a lot of fields but there is only one Tulip Town!
Tulip Town had it ALL!
A flower explosion of color
Opened during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
April 1 - 30th or until the end of the blooms.
(9:00 AM to 5:00 PM)
Later as weather permited.
Admission - $5.00 per person - children under 16 FREE!
View: a spectacular - early, mid
and late season Field Walk
Tulip Town had the only indoor flower and garden show (great for rainy days).
Wonderful Floral Display - A blanket of tulips
FESTIVAL time is the best time to come to this city. And what a profusion of blooms are on display! At Tulip Town some tulips are so large that it would almost take both hands to hold one. Some so small that they remind me of tiny ladies in hooped skirts of various colors having thin white stripes. They are twirling in choreographed rows of reds, whites, pinks and other delicate hues.
Certainly the tulip is well represented at Tulip Town. Here are some that are intensely red, and over there is a most striking variety - a rich rosie pink. They are called, what else, "Rosie Pink." Then there are some with petals of more than one color named, "Fancy Full." The golden yellow ones are called "Jan Van Nes," and those others over there are known as "Grand Style."
Notice how perfectly formed the flower is, and so fresh and crisp looking.
A banner year for Tulip Town - Tulips as far as the eye can see!
ACRES upon acres of wildly colored flower fields transform the fields of Tulip Town into a photographer's paradise.
I've been wanting to visit the Tulip Town for many years. Last year the rare April snow delayed the flowers but Will and I were there just in time to view the first of the blooms. This year the weather threatened to do the same thing, but we worked our vacation schedule to catch the tulips at their best.
History of Tulip Town - 'Lil Tulip Town
ANTHONY DEGOEDE, owner of the Skagit Valley Bulb Farm, emigrated from Holland to Canada in 1956, then moved to Mount Vernon in 1957 where he joined his brothers Henry and John. Twenty years ago he started his business which now is known as 'Lil Tulip Town. The family operates their bulb farm together. Their goal is to keep this farm in good agricultural production, which includes beautiful apple tree hedging which serve as car dividers in the large parking lot. Excellent landscaping techniques are featured throughout the farm, with nursery trees, annuals and perennials.
The DeGoede family is striving to always maintain top quality products and keep the farm a strong agricultural statement. All the equipment in the borders are the original ones used to harvest and plant bulbs here in the valley. 'Lil Tulip Town, supports the worthwhile charities, Children's Hospital and Boys & Girls Club.
Our Visit to Tulip Town - The tulips were there waiting for us ...
Will standing in my favorite colored tulips.
WILL and I saw our first glimpse of the fields off the main road - acres of red and yellow stretching towards the horizon and a half-dozen or so vehicles parked in a dirt pull-off alongside the fields. And then we saw "IT." A sign directing us to "TULIP TOWN."
It was all I had hoped for and then some. Still early in the day, the crowds hadn't yet arrived and we strolled casually between the designated paths among rows and rows of blooming petals. Big puffy clouds floated in a sky as blue as Frank Sinatra's "baby blues." The perfect morning!
As the sun rose, the big, fluffy clouds drifted by and the peaks of the Cascade mountains made an appearance in the distance west. On the edges of the fields old barns and tool sheds made an opportunistic backdrop to Will's many photos.
Will was happy that we had arrived early as the crowds started arriving en masse. Our peaceful, idyllic flower fields were succumbing to the ills of popularity. Walking through the tulips it was difficult for Will to take a photo without people in the background. Will preferred to think of this as a good thing though, as he said that it gave these photos perpective. It emphasized the size of the fields and how the sea of blooms just keep on going into the distance.
Before leaving this colorful display we visited the indoor area, and there, in a gift shop I found some beautiful carved wooden tulips for a present and some pretty glass candle holders in the shape of tulips for myself. In this same area, with a bewildering variety to choose from, one can select and purchase cut flowers for the living room or bulbs to plant in your flower beds. Practically everyone leaves with one of these items as a memento of an unforgettable display of color and beauty. A memento that will last a long time with proper care.
The main event here though is certainly not my narrative, but most definitely the photos Will took. In the Photo Gallery below you may view some of the photos Will took. There are many more on Will's website www.willborden.com so be sure to give them a look.
A clever use of old equipment - I like it!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tulip Town Windmill - An impressive site
TOM DeGOEDE,Tulip Towns' owner, had the good fortune to visit his family in Holland in May 2003. There he viewed his villages' windmill, which was designed to pump water from one canal to the next. It was an impressive site, This beautiful scene inspired Tom to build a replica of the windmill at Tulip Town. Luckily, Toms' sister Nel was able to help by directing him to the blueprint of the original windmill. Michael Kerley was master builder.
Nick Cecotti built the shaft for the windmill blades, and Tom Praeter engineered the windmill blades exactly as the Dutch plans required.
Tom DeGoede, with the help of God, is the master planner of the windmill scene.
Tulip Town Canal - Homage to the World Peace Gardens
TULIP TOWN CANAL pays homage to the world's peace gardens.
PEACE gardens began to sprout due to a friendship made during World War II. The heir to the Dutch crown, Princess Juliana, was whisked off to Canada to protect her from the war. After she returned safely to Holland, she sent Ottawa yearly thank-you gifts of thousands of tulip bulbs.
The practice caught on, and now the tulip torch of friendship is passed from one country to another each year; there are now 16 gardens in capitals around the world. The U.S. peace garden is across from the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
"We thought, it is such a beautiful thing, we're representing all 16 countries with a garden," says Jeannette DeGoede, owner of Skagit Valley Bulb Farm, which operates Tulip Town on Bradshaw Road. In the half-acre garden, each country is represented by a flag; a series of arches connect them. A mass of tulips, hyacinths and anemones bloom beneath the flags in a red, white and blue design.
The farm has inaugurated a new tulip exclusively for the peace garden. "It's dark red with a white edge," says DeGoede, "and will bloom with anemones in soft purple and white, and over 10,000 grape hyacinths, planted in sweeping bands."
The Trolley Ride
Tired of walking?
RECENT years has brought more accessibility to the fields with wheelchair ramps and handrails beening added for safety on the uneven farm ground.
You can replace a walking tour completely by riding a trolley that loops the colorful fields.
Bursting with bulbs - "awww."
FIELDS of colored cups, like curved hands held open and waiting. Tulip time in Mt. Vernon, Washington, USA. Every color, and the shades between. My eye is drawn to the pinks and the purples, the deep pulsing color of royalty.
Visitors who've seen Tulip Town in April and May will instantly recall the way the flat farmland is painted in broad swaths of red and yellow during the tulip bloom, one of the state's postcard tourist images.
But visitors this year found fresh angles on this favorite day trip. The way the tulips appeared in different fields due to crop rotation, we could rekindle that feeling of "awww."
Those broad swaths of color across the tabletop landscape are what draw the crowds. Even among returning visitors, many people comment that it's, "all new."
Tulip Town on video
Vendors - Something for everyone!
Four Winds Kite Shop: Besides the tulips, this is the most colorful display around! Stop and see the superb array of flying kites, flags and windsocks.
Professional kite fliers will fly kites each week-end. The shop will host all kites.
Tulip Town Cafe' is under new management and will serve snacks, espresso, ice cream, etc. Open 9:00am - 5:00pm. GREAT FOOD!
Michelle's: Espresso, Tea, & other beverages. Scones plus a variety of other snacks to enjoy.
Prater Homestead: A 100 year old house with landscape display. All the varieties are displayed in the gardens. Pots are ready for purchase.
Happy Valley Farms: Dry floral arrangements, wreaths, crafts, special soaps, and much more.
Tulip Town's Garden Shop: Everything here from seeds to plants to freshly cut tulips. It's a gardener's dream come true!
Go Fly a Kite - In a stiff breeze
SHOOTING pictures of the flowers and resisting the urge to pick was not the only things going on at Tulip Town during the tulip bloom.
A stiff breeze came up and kites filled the air ... some were HUGE!!
This demonstration was sponsored by the Four Winds Kite Shop.
Enlarge the Photos
In the following Photo Galleries you can enlarge the photographs by clicking on the picture you wish to enlarge.
It's that simple!
The Artists at Tulip Town - Available Art, clothing, momentosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Landscape Murals by Jennifer Bowman - Flower and Garden Show
TULIP FESTIVAL ARTIST, Jennifer Bowman has painted 10' x 12' panels as a backdrop to compliment the indoor flower & garden show. Truly a must see!
A few of the scenes are shown below.
Tulip Town Mural Photos - Photos of Jennifer's work at Tulip TownClick thumbnail to view full-size
Tulip Bouquets Everywhere - To purchase, photograph or just enjoy!Click thumbnail to view full-size
How To Care For Fresh Cut Tulips - Good advice from the growers.
How Many Tulips in a Field? - How to find out
There are now over 3,000 different varieties of registered tulips!
A COMMON QUESTION visitors ask: "How many tulips are in the fields?" Not an easy bit of math.
Answer: Take the size of your foot, count the plants next to it, and then start walking and multiplying. Foot times plants times steps may equal the number of flowers in a row, but the total bulb count will still be elusive. There's more than one bulb per plant. In the end, this is only speculation: THERE ARE A LOT!
(If you don't believe this, go see for yourself.)
Traveling Tulips - A virtual rainbow
ACTIVE TULIP FIELDS are moved to new land each year in a rotation to rest the soil, making the perspective change each season.
One time, you're shooting pictures to the West, next time you have Mount Baker as your backdrop, or straight to the east, and you're seeing the Cascades. On clear days, if you're shooting in the right direction, you have the Olympics in the background.
Anyone with a good eye and a long lens can shoot the white-capped crags of local peaks. This makes a stunning backdrop to the bright, curvaceous tulips.
New varieties are introduced in the display gardens each year, but when you have hundreds of acres of tulips and a few feet of a new variety, people don't even notice it.
Don't miss the tulips skillfully planted in a rainbow.
How to Grow Your Tulips - From International Flower Bulb Centre, Holland
AS LONG as there is a sufficient supply of water, almost any type of soil is suitable. However, planting can be made easier by mixing the topsoil with sand, peat, or compost.
Plant tulip bulbs in the fall. There are two ways to go about it: You can dig a hole for each individual bulb, or you can make a seedbed to plant all the bulbs at once.
A rule of thumb for planting tulip bulbs: The planting depth should be twice the height of the bulb. That means that the lower end of the bulb (flat side) should beÂ about eight inches [20 cm] below the surface. Place the bulbs about five inches [12 cm] apart.
Cover the bulbs with the dug out soil, and water immediately so that growth can start. In heavy frost a layer of peat or mulch of leaves will protect the bulbs and will also prevent the soil from drying out. Remove the mulch in spring when the shoots first appear.
Cut off the flower heads when the petals begin to droop; otherwise, the plant will go to seed and rob the bulb of food needed for next year's growth. Allow the foliage to die naturally, and remove it when the leaves become yellow.
Instead of planting an occasional bulb here and there, plant bulbs of the same kind and color together in groups. That way you will create splashes of color and fully enjoy the floral masterpiece in your garden.
Books on how to grow tulips - Plan your own tulip garden
Poems About Tulips - They are almost as beautiful as the tulips themselves.
A Tulip Garden
Guarded within the old red wall's embrace,
Marshalled like soldiers in gay company,
The tulips stand arrayed. Here infantry
Wheels out into the sunlight. What bold grace
Sets off their tunics, white with crimson lace!
Here are platoons of gold-frocked cavalry,
With scarlet sabres tossing in the eye
Of purple batteries, every gun in place.
Forward they come, with flaunting colours spread,
With torches burning, stepping out in time
To some quick, unheard march. Our ears are dead,
We cannot catch the tune. In pantomime
Parades that army. With our utmost powers
We hear the wind stream through a bed of flowers.
When Tulips Bloom
When tulips bloom in Union Aquare,
And timid breaths of vernal air
Go wandering down the dusty town,
Like children lost in Vanity Fair;
When every long, unlovely row
Of westward houses stands aglow,
And leads the eyes to sunset skies
Beyond the hills where green trees grow.
Then wearly seems the street parade,
And weary books, and weary trade:
I'm only wishing to go a-fishing;
For this the month of May was made.
Excerpt from Poems by Henry Van Dyke
Dew on the Tulip
cling to the purple skin
the liquid flesh
of the tulip bloom
holding on, for moments more
before the melting away
in the May sunshine
waiting for my camera
my posing, posturing
holding still for the shot
ready to complete the cycle
from the cloud to the earth
and back again
in the warming
of the morning
Credit: Poems by Raymond A. Foss
You can order fresh cut tulips - Order now!
When tulips have finished blooming most flower shops still have tulips for sale. Don't wait! Order some for someone you love.
Are Tulip Bulbs Poisonous? - Tulips Helped Them Survive
DURING the final months of World WarÂ II in Europe, a Nazi blockade stopped all waterway food shipments into the major cities in the west of the Netherlands. The consequences were devastating, as many who lived through that period can testify.
A person normally needs about 1,600 to 2,800 calories a day. But by April 1945, some of those living in Amsterdam, Delft, The Hague, Leiden, Rotterdam, and Utrecht were subsisting on daily rations that amounted to between 500 and 600 calories a day. It is believed that as a result, during the Hunger Winter of 1944/45, at least 10,000 civilians died from malnutrition.
According to survivor Susan Monkman, her family resorted to eating tulip bulbs. "The tulip bulbs were unbelievably sharp-edged," says Monkman. "No amount of simmering would soften them. Nevertheless we were happy to chew them slowly and carefully. They left us with sore throats for days." To help reduce the irritation, a few carrots or a sugar beet, if available, would be mixed with the bulbs.
One four-ounce [100 g] portion of tulip bulbs contains some 148 calories, 3 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, and 32Â grams of carbohydrate. Thus, the unpalatable diet of tulip bulbs may have helped save many Netherlanders from starvation.
Man's terrible inhumanity to man, examples of which are indelibly engraved on the minds of many, illustrates how desperately humankind needs the realization of the Bible promise: "There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to [God's] promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell."-2Â Peter 3:13
Roots of The Tulip - In TURKEY?
"WHEN spring comes to Holland, it is as if thousands of acres .Â .Â . come to life," says the Netherlands Bureau for Tourism. Suddenly, in an outburst of color, bright ribbons of blossoming tulips stream across the fields, creating a floral splendor that attracts tourists from all over the world. For most visitors, these graceful and popular garden flowers are as Dutch as windmills, cheese, and wooden shoes. But did you know that tulips actually have their roots in TURKEY?
Dutch Tulips With Oriental Roots
Turkish ornaments dating from the 12th century portray tulips, but, "European literature mentions tulips for the first time in the 1550's," notes botanist AdÃ©laÃ¯de L. Stork. In 1553 a traveler from France wrote that "amazed foreigners" were buying unfamiliar "red lilies with big onions" in the markets of Constantinople (Istanbul). Locals called the flower dÃ¼lbend, meaning "turban" in Turkish, and that word, explains Dr.Â Stork, became "the etymological source of the word 'tulip'."
One of the foreigners intrigued by these turbanlike flowers was Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, the Austrian ambassador to Turkey (1555-62). He took some bulbs from Constantinople to Vienna, where they were planted in the gardens of Ferdinand I, the Hapsburg emperor. There the tulip bulbs flourished under the skillful care of Charles de L'Ãcluse, a French botanist better known by his Latin name, Carolus Clusius.
Before long, Clusius' fame attracted the attention of the Leiden University in the Netherlands, which persuaded him to become the curator of the university's botanical garden. In October 1593, Clusius and "a stash of tulip bulbs," arrived in Leiden. Some months later, in the spring of 1594, Clusius' new garden became the setting for the first tulip ever to flower in the Netherlands.
TULIPOMANIA - A Stormy Period
A small section of a painting to give an example of the "Heem" tulip.
VIVID colors and exotic shapes of the tulip fascinated the Dutch. Romantic tales of the extravagant value that Turkish sultans put on the bulbs made them the envy of every status-conscious citizen. Before long, growing tulip bulbs became a lucrative business, and when the demand began to outweigh the supply, prices for bulbs shot up and triggered a stormy period that Dutch historians call tulpenwoede, or tulipomania.
Tulipomania reached its peak in the 1630's when tulip bulbs became the hottest commodity. In those days it was more affordable to buy a painting of a tulip done by Jan D. de Heem (a great 17th-century Dutch painter of still life) than to buy a rare tulip bulb. I have added a sample of his work, "Bouquet arrangement against a blue sky," above.
One bulb was acceptable as a dowry for a bride, three bulbs were the price for a canalside house, and a single bulb of the variety Tulipe Brasserie was traded for a flourishing brewery. Bulb traders could earn some $44,000 U.S. a month. At inns and public houses around Holland, the talk and transactions centered around only one item - bulbs.
"Steadily rising prices tempted many ordinary middle-class and poor families to speculate in the tulip market," says The New EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica. "Homes, estates, and industries were mortgaged so that bulbs could be bought for resale at higher prices. Sales and resales were made many times over without the bulbs ever leaving the ground." Fortunes were doubled in the blink of an eye. Poor men became rich; rich men became super-rich. Bulb trading had become a wild speculator's market until suddenly, in 1637, there were more sellers than buyers - and the market crashed. Almost overnight, thousands of Dutch went from riches to ruin.
Flower painted by Jan Davidsz de Heem - 1660 - 1684
The Love Affair Goes On - Survives Tulipomania
THE LOVE AFFAIR with the tulip survived the aftermath of tulipomania, and the tulip bulb industry began to flourish again. In fact, by the 18th century, Dutch tulips had become so famous that a Turkish sultan, AhmedÂ III, imported thousands of tulips from Holland. So after a long journey, the Dutch offspring of Turkish tulips returned to their roots. Today, growing tulips in the Netherlands has become a major industry - or beautiful business, as some say. Of the country's 13,000 square miles [34,000 sq km], some 19,000 acres [7,700 ha] are used for tulip bulb growing. Each year, the country's 3,300 growers export nearly two billion tulip bulbs to more than 80 countries.
Though the tulip has had a stormy past, man's love affair with this garden favorite has been steady. Throughout the centuries this beautiful flower has moved artists, poets, and scientists to capture its elegant shape and striking colors on canvas and paper. After one of them, 18th-century scientist Johann Christian Benemann, had written a monograph in German about the tulip, he named the treatise Die Tulpe zum Ruhm ihres SchÃ¶pffers, und VergnÃ¼gung edler GemÃ¼ther (The Tulip for the Glory of Its Creator and Enjoyment of the Noble-Minded.) To him and many other authors, the tulip is not only an object in the gardener's hand, but it reflects the greatness and the glory of the Creator. Looking at this delicate flower, you will find it hard to disagree.
Haiku Poems About Beautiful Tulips - Tulip design by Will Borden
Three Related Haiku's on Tulip Flowers
Planted, Dormant, Fall.
First Bloomers in Springtime Sun.
Cups Above the Stems.
Rainbow of Colors.
Field of Tulips Never-Ending.
Bright and Beautiful.
Tulip Bouquet Mother's Day.
Happiness a Gift
Credit: Marie Daniels
Have you got a little time on your hands? - Books on Tulips
Here are some books that I've enjoyed and I'd like to recommend.
These are not "How-To" books but some mysteries and just some fun reading.
Tip-toe through the tulips ...
Come to Tulip Town
The goal of tulip town is to make everyone's special day at the nursery a perfect one.
My goal is to share with you the beauty of Tulip Town. Thank you for strolling through Tulip Town with me. We had a great time, didn't we!
I hope that you will get a chance to visit Tulip Town in person some day. There is so much to do and see I just know that you won't be disappointed!
Here's another visitor's video of Tulip Town - Looks like it rained that day!
It doesn't always rain. - Tulips of 2011
As you may see from this video, we had rainy weather here in Tulip Town. The sun is soon shining and the tulips are beautiful.
2012 videos have been added.
2012 in Tulip Town - Get your tulip "fix' here.
Here's more pictures of the "Peace" flower.
How can you make a page like this one?
Careful, you may earn money if you do!
It is not difficult!
I hope that you have enjoyed this lens as much as I enjoyed putting it together.