Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fields of Gold (and Pink)

We are fortunate to live less than an hour south of the lush Skagit Valley, with its charming farms, rural atmosphere and, oh yes, a daffodil or tulip or two!

The world famous Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs from April 1 - 30 but the early spring has caused the tulip growers to open their fields and display gardens a week early. As they say on the Festival website "Bloom Dates According to Mother Nature", and she is certainly in a hurry this year.

I went up there this morning, to avoid the crowds and take advantage of a sunny day. The daffodil fields were at their peak, glowing in golden waves across the valley.

Only one tulip field at Roozengaarde was in bloom but the rest are not far behind. If you plan to go, I recommend the earlier part of April, instead of the later part, which was the time to go for the two previous years.

If you can't make it, you can still tiptoe through the tulips in our extensive image gallery!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cherry Blossom Time!

Sakura Sakura

Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
On Meadow-hills and mountains
As far as you can see.
Is it a mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the morning sun.
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Flowers in full bloom.
Traditional Japanese Song

One of the most spectacular spring sights in Seattle is the University of Washington Quad, with its famous Yoshino cherry trees in bloom, which perfectly compliment the pink stone and brick Gothic architecture of the campus buildings.

We shoot there several times during the blossom season. This year, it has come early but lasted for weeks, due to the warm days and cool nights.

The trees are nearly at the end of their life span, but are such beloved icons that replacement trees are already being grown in a nursery in northern Washington.
When I was growing up, we spent several years living in a small coastal village in Japan. We loved participating in the many wonderful annual festivals there, and Hanami, the Cherry Blossom Festival, was always a highlight.

My favorite image of this year's shoots is this one, taken by David on March 6th:

Enjoy spring, wherever you are!