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Last month’s floral inspiration post featured a stunning floral sculpture – the result of one artist’s fanciful, intricate interpretation of a flowering tree. This month, we spin the dial in the opposite direction and visit the humble field daffodil before it is even plucked from the earth. Well, not just one daffodil – fields and fields of them.
Yes, we are headed to Washington State’s Skagit Valley – home to some of the most prolific bulb farms in the U.S. Most of these farms are owned by families that originated in Holland.
In April, many Washingtonians (including me) look forward to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, when the valley floor comes alive with colorful bands of blooming tulips.
Beating the Crowds
This popular attraction, now in its 33rd year, can get crowded. So this year, I wanted to get ahead of the crowd and instead check out the La Conner Daffodil Festival, which takes place in March. The driving route is almost identical to the tulip festival route, but the earlier-blooming daffodils are the main attraction. Three major varieties of daffodils are grown in the fields.
Now, to convince my husband, Chris, to tiptoe through the, uh, daffodils with me, I had to throw in an element of adventure.
So I told him we could bike the daffodil route.
Our Day Among The Daffodils
We parked the car in La Conner, a quaint little town on the Swinomish Channel, and hopped on our bikes.
There was so much to see that it seemed we stopped every mile or so.
Biking the route was better than driving it because we really felt connected to the valley. We could hear bird songs and see snow geese in the fields and hawks hovering overhead.
The Big Attractions
Our first big stop was Roozengaarde, a huge bulb farm with over 1,000 acres of fields growing tulips, daffodils and irises. Roozengaarde has a gift shop and a beautiful display garden.
And beyond the lawn behind the display garden, fields of daffodils seemed to stretch to the mountains.
Next we rode to Tulip Town, another large farm that grows and sells bulbs and other perennials. The fields of Tulip Town were starting to show signs of spectacular color to come.
By now we were starting to feel pressed for time, so we didn’t linger in Tulip Town as long as I would have liked.
We hit the road again. And not that this has anything to do with daffodils, but we happened upon the cutest unexpected sight: Miniature donkeys!
The next stop was Christianson’s Nursery. This place really speaks to me because they have several historic structures on the nursery grounds that the owners have rescued from other locations.
My favorite is the Meadow School, built in 1888. It is still used for classes – gardening classes, that is, held by the nursery.
I could have spent hours in their quaint gift shop.
And I also fell in love with their many vintage greenhouses, especially this one from the 1940s.
But we were getting hungry. It was time to wrap up the 16-mile ride and head back to La Conner to find food.
Daffodils in the City
Flower vendors in Seattle’s Pike Place Market sell the fancier filled daffodils which come mostly from farms near the city of Carnation.
To me, their soft beauty rivals any peony or rose.
But I wanted to use regular field daffodils to fill this French pitcher* that Chris gave me for Christmas.
It took two grocery store bundles to fill the pitcher – $4 well spent.
*The blue pitcher is by Emile Henry. This company specializes in kitchenware and bakeware. For Christmas, Chris gave me a mix of vintage and new Emile Henry bakeware. I love the look, the quality, and how easy the pieces are to clean.
Emile Henry is a French company, and most of their items are made in France.
A nice assortment of vintage Emile Henry can be found on Etsy.