The crowds and traffic were so bad last time we went down to see the tulips we decided to try a week night. Traffic was better, no traffic jams, but there were thousands of people - hundreds of cars - but plenty of tulips.
The growers have left the flowers alone for longer than usual. After this long in bloom the heads are popped off the tulips so they can put their energy into the bulb, which is the main seller for the growers, but this year the rainy weather has kept crowds away and the tulip growers are not making as much money from their tours so the flowers are still in the fields - but they are starting to turn and wilt in many fields so this will probably be the last week of flowers - and with a rainy weekend coming up the farmers will be beheading the flowers, as the crowds will be less.
We picked a sunny day - it was glorious yesterday - and drove down again. Some have asked where the tulip fields are. They are in Skagit (sounds like gadget) Valley, 20 miles south of Bellingham, WA and about 70 mile north of Seattle. They are off Highway 20 and there are signs with "Tulip Route" posted at all intersections that lead to the fields. Sometimes you have to drive around a bit to find the fields - and there are far less than last year, but when you find them, they are fabulous.
We discovered a field of tulips we had not seen before, with more colors than most of the other fields.
I couldn't get close to the dark purple tulips in the upper middle of the photo. There are many, many signs warning to stay on the paths around the fields and not to walk between the rows, but so many people break that rule and I find I have to wait and wait to get a photo of a field without people walking among the rows.
Peony Tulips were grown in this field
Some of the growers have displays of tulips planted along the roads leading to their festival events - and the parking lots
These lavender tulips are my favorite this year
Yellow is always a favorite - and with the sun shining through them they absolutely glow.
Also Parrot Tulips were growing in this newly discovered field of flowers
And the fences added to the beauty of the flowers
The stripes of color in the tulips is caused by a disease in the bulb - which the growers encourage to get the two colored flowers.
Dutch Tulip Mania - in the 1630s, reached a climax. In March 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. It is recorded that a single bulb once was traded for an empire. Then as suddenly as the desire for this newly introduced flower rose, it fell, the bottom dropped out of the market and the bulbs were available to everyone at reasonable prices.