Where I live, trees and flowers start blooming in March. Towards the end of March one of my favorite flowers begins displaying it's beauty for all to see. Of course, I'm talking about the humble tulip.
My hubby planted a batch of bulbs in our backyard and they erupt in a wild blaze of color every year. Many houses in my neighborhood nurture colorful tulip displays in their yards. But the best place of all to see tulips is the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. Located south of Portland near the town of Woodburn, they host a festival each year that runs from late March into early May. Their huge, colorful fields are a photographer's delight.
|It's tulip time!|
I try to make it to the tulip festival every year. Last year, I bought a season pass that provided unlimited visits to Wooden Shoe's fields. That must've given me loyal customer status because in November I received an email from the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm advertising a "Black Friday special" - a half price season pass to the 2022 festival. Well of course I wasn't about to pass that up!
|A beautiful shade of purple|
I forgot about my purchase until mid-March rolled around. That's when reports of the fields opening hit my social media feed. It was then I remembered I already had a season pass. It was time to put that baby to work!
|Loved the light illuminating these red ones|
In late March, I made a quick afternoon trip to the tulip farm to check out the bloom status. Although I saw lots of flowering tulips, there were just as many fields full of green stalks yet to open.
|Some nice stripes of color|
No matter, it was a lovely, rain-free afternoon and I enjoyed walking around the colorful rows that were in bloom. I had my season pass - I'd be back!
|Many tulips yet to bloom|
Two weeks passed by, me busy with other things. Then my neighbor Cheri texted me one rainy Sunday morning asking me if I wanted to run by the tulip farm. I replied "of course!"
|Two weeks later - what a difference!|
My oh my, how things changed in two week's time! The place was now in full-on, colorful bloom. Despite this gray, drizzly day, the flowers looked absolutely gorgeous.
|Everything was in full bloom|
We wandered through rows upon rows of tulips of every shape, size and color.
|Raindrops on tulip|
Overcast skies made the colors absolutely pop. And raindrops falling on the flowers made for some good photo subjects.
|The windmill in the distance|
|More dewdrop blooms|
|The fields were spectacular!|
I'd told my friend Kim about the tulip fields and she was interested in visiting. So two days later I returned, this time with Kim.
|My friend Kim tries on some new shoes|
It was a horrible, stormy day. The wind was whipping, rain squalls moving through, even a bit of hail. But on the plus side, there were hardly any people!
Despite the less-than-ideal weather, Kim loved it. We took lots of photos. (Or I should say I took lots more photos).
Of course, with the rain there was lots of mud. And the tiny hailstones ripped a few petals off the flowers. But it I still had a good time.
|One of my favorite colors|
You'd think after visiting the tulip farm twice in a week's time I'd be done for awhile. But no....
|Hot air balloons launched at dawn|
I still hadn't captured a sunrise over the tulip fields, something I try to do once every year. The constant cloudy, rainy weather wasn't helping matters. But then I noticed a promising forecast for Friday. Even though I'd already visited twice that week, I had to go back!
|Sunrise over a frosty field|
So I rallied Cheri for another tulip farm visit. Driving through the foggy darkness that morning, we thought at first sunrise would be foiled by fog. But as we turned onto the final road, the skies miraculously cleared. Sunrise was on!
As Cheri and walked towards the tulip fields we got another surprise - it had gotten so cold the night before that there was frost on all the flowers. I'd never seen such a thing!
|Balloons in the air|
If that wasn't enough, the tulip farm also launched three hot air balloons at dawn. Sunrise...hot air balloons....frosty tulips. There were so many things to photograph, it was like a three-ring circus.
|Reflections in a mud puddle|
A spokesperson from the tulip farm said the frost wouldn't harm the flowers. As a matter of fact, she stated the cold temperatures would help preserve the bloom. It must've worked well because this year the tulip festival stayed open an extra couple of weeks.
|My favorite tractor|
As the morning sun rose higher in the sky, all the icy coatings melted off the tulips. I could see the flowers rebounding already. And they looked none the worse for wear.
|The windmill surrounded by color|
Towards the end of this fourth visit, Cheri noticed a sparrow hopping around the ground. Wanting to get a photo of it in the flowers, we flushed it towards the fields. The little bird obliged, hopping on top of a bloom, even belting out a happy spring song.
|This sweet sparrow sang for us|
I'd hoped to make a fifth visit to the farm and catch a sunset but the weather never cooperated on a night I was free. Oh well, with four visits under my belt, I can certainly say I got my money's worth from this year's pass! Hope you enjoyed my batch of photos from 2022's Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.
Until next year.......