From early spring through early autumn, the Pacific Northwest is alive with the color of flowers. Whether you are a photographer, gardener or just love festivals, these celebrations of everything floral will entice you out of your winter hibernation with a colorful flower festival. Find these flower farms and festivals on a day trip from Clark County.
Be sure and check the websites and Facebook pages for flower field visits. Flowers don’t watch the calendar. They pay much more attention to the weather! Dress for walking if you go to the fields. You may encounter mud or dust when you walk through the beautiful flowers. And, of course, take your camera.
When there is still frost on the ground, the daffodil fields come alive with brilliant yellows, oranges and whites. Just outside Woodburn, Oregon you’ll find beautiful daffodils, and have a chance to shop for bulbs at the Wooden Shoe Bulb Farm in Woodburn as part of their March Tulip festival. The farms around Amity Oregon are filled with daffodils as well, but the town no longer holds a festival. Look for these beautiful flowers along roadways and in local gardens as they brighten up the chilly weather. And pick up a bouquet in your local specialty food store.
Tulip Festivals abound in the Pacific Northwest. Head south of Portland to Woodburn where you’ll see signs pointing to the Wooden Shoe Bulb Farm Tulip Fest. The tulips have been blooming since the 1950s and visitors flock to the fields to enjoy the rainbow of colors, participate in special events and plan their own spring gardens. The Iverson family opens their forty acres of fields to photographers, home gardeners, hot air balloonists and vintage steam tractor enthusiasts. There are food stands and special rides and play areas for children. This festival welcomes dogs, too.
In Woodland, Washington you’ll find the smaller Woodland Tulip Festival held on the grounds of the Holland-America Bulb Farm. If the tulips last long enough, it’s also possible to combine a viewing of the fields with a trip to the Hulda Kalager Lilac Gardens in May.
The Salem-Keizer area of Oregon is the place to go to enjoy the beauty of Iris flowers, attend an iris bloom season running event or sip wine in a spring display garden. A great day trip from Clark County in May includes a stop at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens.
Schreiner’s Iris Gardens has been the nation’s largest retail grower of Irises with more than 200 acres of Irises and a 10-acre display garden that hosts more than 500 named Irises, since 1925. Schreiner’s Irises are considered by collectors to be among the finest in the world. Their display garden is a must-visit and includes many other varieties of flowers. And, when you get ready to leave, pick up one of their catalogs and a stem or two of cut iris to take home.
Lilac Days, beginning in mid-April, brings visitors from around the world to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland, Washington, just a short drive north of Vancouver. Whether you are a fan of the fragrant bush, love Victoriana, or just want to get out in the countryside for the day, the gardens and home are worth a visit to see the gorgeous Washington lilac blossoms.
Hulda Klager moved from Germany to the United States as a young girl. In 1903, while recovering from an illness, she read a book by Luther Burbank that kindled her passion for hybridizing. She started with apples and then moved to lilacs and some of the varieties you’ll see at the gardens are the result of her work.
We all know about Portland, Oregon’s Rose Festival and parade. It’s a city-wide celebration of roses that takes place each June. There is a waterfront carnival and events and ships from the U.S. and Canadian navies sail up the Willamette for the event.
There’s a lot going on but for the true rose lover, the place to go is Portland’s International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. There are rows upon rows of labeled rose bushes. You can take a guided tour or just relax under a gazebo and enjoy the view of downtown Portland and Mt. Hood in the distance.
Looking ahead to late summer, you’ll start seeing dahlias popping up in everyone’s gardens. South of Portland, outside the small town of Canby, you’ll find Swan Island Dahlias, the largest dahlia grower in the United States. They grow over 360 varieties on 40 acres that are open to the public during blooming season, and host the largest dahlia festival in the United States featuring over 400 dahlia arrangements during the six-day festival. The fields are open for viewing 7 days a week from dawn to dusk, August – September 30 each year.
The dahlias are amazing. There are dinner plate sized flowers, a rainbow of colors to photograph and, of course, you can decide on which tubers you want to order for your own garden.