Outdoors

Tulip Tips

Blooming blunders 101

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I’ve often wondered about the job descriptions for the brave humans who are hired to patrol the busy fields during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

“Must be willing to pluck a gap-toothed toddler from amid a picturesque cluster of flowers in the name of keeping the stems intact,” I imagine the posting reads. “Please be in condition to run at a moment’s notice, as you will be required to keep hordes of tourists intent on getting the best Instagram photos of their lives from tiptoeing through the you-know-what. If you don’t have a voice that carries, you should also learn how to use a megaphone to amplify it.”

You might think I’m joking, but I witnessed the petal police in action during a day trip to the Skagit Valley last spring, and their suffering is real.

My date and I had recently finished a jaunt through the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and were on our way to Mount Vernon for lunch. We talked about stopping at RoozenGarde or Tulip Town for an in-depth exploration of the fertile fields, but agreed our hunger took precedence.

However, when we had to slow down on Best Road because of a sudden traffic backup, we realized that dozens of cars pulled over to the side of the road near Tulip Town were partially to blame for the lag. Instead of lambasting those who had left their vehicles parked in a haphazard manner reminiscent of the scene of an accident—not an emergency photo shoot caused by the lure of a vibrant field of red and yellow tulips—we angled our ride dangerously near a “no parking” sign and joined them.

As we snapped a few selfies and shot a few more pictures for posterity, the aforementioned crimes against nature had the security detail in a tizzy.

“Sir! Please get out of the tulips!” one employee screeched at a man with a camera who was standing in the middle of a row of flowers. The guy was not only far enough away that hearing the admonition would have been a stretch, but also way too engrossed in the scenery to care. The “cop” had to hustle a few hundred feet to get his message across, by which time the mellow fellow was already returning to the road.

During the 20 minutes we spent gazing at the tulips, as well as at the back-and-forth between rubberneckers and security, I realized those who make the trek to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival each April should follow a few simple tips so as not to make the same blooming blunders.

First off, if there’s a sign instructing you to stay a respectful distance away from the flowers, follow that directive and use your camera to get closer. Second, if you have the option to come during the week instead of on a weekend, then take it, as traffic during Saturday and Sunday has been known to back up a mile or two.

Finally, if you see a winded security guard bearing down on you, stop and listen to what they have to say. They’re only doing their jobs, after all.

For more details about the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, go to http://www.tulipfestival.org

West Coast Wellness
More Outdoors...
Forest Facts
The wonder of the woods

Pacific Northwesters may grumble about the lack of sunshine for nine months of the year, but when summer does bring its nonstop infusions of vitamin D, many residents choose to hide from the sun and seek cover in shady moss- and fern-filled forests—whether they’re in their backyards or a…

more »
Happy Campers
Summer at Baker Lake

A splendid sunny weekend beckoned. The North Cascades were still buried in snow, so our original plan of a backpacking trip up high against the sky needed some inspired revision.

Christopher solved the problem: Paddling up Baker Lake and camping on the wild east bank was just the thing.…

more »
Splash and Dash
Salvation at Cougar Lick Falls

There were 10 of us trying to finish up some time-sensitive rock-work in an exposed talus field high on a south-facing mountainside when the sun hit that morning.

Although we managed to maintain a productive pace through increasingly sweltering conditions much longer than I expected, …

more »
Events
Today
Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

The soundtrack of summer

10:16am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

2:00pm|Vanier Park

I and You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Project Homeless Connect

9:00am|Bellingham High School

Wild Things

9:30am|Boulevard Park

Community Quilt Project

10:00am|Deming Library

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Mission Folk Music Festival

12:00pm|Fraser River Heritage Park

North Cascades Vintage Fly-In

12:00pm|Concrete

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

3:00pm|Centennial Riverwalk Park

Pop-Up Beer Garden

3:00pm|Fairhaven

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|downtown Bellingham

Commercial Street Night Market

6:00pm|Commerical Street

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Port of Anacortes Summer Concert Series

6:00pm|Seafarers Park

The Drowsy Chaperone

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Burlington Summer Nights

7:00pm|Burlington Visitors Center Amphitheater

Dancing on the Green

7:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Skagit River Shakespeare Festival

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

Sandcastle

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Festival of Music Finale

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

An Improvised Musical

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Trove
Tomorrow
Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

2:00pm|Vanier Park

I and You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Mission Folk Music Festival

12:00pm|Fraser River Heritage Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

North Cascades Vintage Fly-In

12:00pm|Concrete

Pop-Up Beer Garden

3:00pm|Fairhaven

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

The Drowsy Chaperone

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Skagit River Shakespeare Festival

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

Sandcastle

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

An Improvised Musical

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Plant Hike

7:00am|Grouse Ridge

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Forest Owners Field Day

9:00am|Alexander Ross Tree Farm

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Lummi Island Saturday Market

10:00am|Lummi Island

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Summer Harvest Day

10:00am|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Birch Bay Sandcastle Competition

10:00am|Birch Bay Community Park

Fairhaven Steampunk Festival

10:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

Correspondence Club

10:30am|Mindport Exhibits

Summer Sampling Party

11:00am|Skagit Valley Food Co-op

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Farm to Glass Distillery Tours

12:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Weaving Indra's Net

12:30pm|Lummi Island Library

Curator Talk and Clayton James Celebration

1:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Artifacts of time and place

1:00pm

Field Games Day

1:00pm|VanderYacht Park

Beauty Lou and the Country Beast

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Taste of Walla Walla Dinner Cruise

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Wine and Paint

6:30pm|Stoneycreek Glassware

Feast & Frolic in the Fields

6:30pm|Viva Farms

Larry Hildes Benefit Concert

7:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Lester and Hyldahl Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Sunday
Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Sounds by the bay

9:41am

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

2:00pm|Vanier Park

I and You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

North Cascades Vintage Fly-In

12:00pm|Concrete

Mission Folk Music Festival

12:00pm|Fraser River Heritage Park

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Pop-Up Beer Garden

3:00pm|Fairhaven

The Drowsy Chaperone

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Skagit River Shakespeare Festival

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

Birch Bay Sandcastle Competition

10:00am|Birch Bay Community Park

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Farm to Glass Distillery Tours

12:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Look to the skies

8:43pm

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Vietnam Veterans Car Show

10:00am|Barkley Village

Forest Walk

11:00am|Fairhaven Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

La Conner Live!

1:00pm|Gilkey Square

Brewers by the Bay

1:00pm|Depot Market Square

Audubon at the Museum

2:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Angels in America

2:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

MBT Open House

2:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Fiddlin' Fox Summer Concert Series

2:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Trivia Night

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Marrowstone Music Festival

7:00pm|Western Washington University

Mousetrap Auditions

7:00pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

see our complete calendar »

Village Books Lester and Hyldahl Trove Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market