Most of us want the numbers at the gas pump to go down.
And the numbers in our 401k plans to go up.
But if you’re a tulip grower in Oregon’s Willamette Valley?Then you want the number 60 (degrees) to come up early and often along with breaks in the clouds for some extended sunshine. That’s the only way you start the annual Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon with fields of blooms.
Northwest’s Record Cool March Means Slow Start To Woodburn Tulip Festival
The picture on this page is from Wednesday March 30, 2011 at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest five days after the festival started. But one thing is missing: 95% of the tulips! The Wooden Shoe’s web site has a daily bloom report and I’m not surprised it says only about 5% of the tulips are blooming. Because Woodburn, Oregon’s first 60 degree day of 2011 was March 30.
Record cool temperatures (the latest Portland and McMinnville have gone without hitting 60 degrees, for example) helped slow maturing plants. But the main thing that tricks plants into growing very slowly is a lack of sunlight.
Yes, the sun’s up longer now. But with measurable rain on 29 of 30 days in the month of March (a Portland, Oregon rain record) there have been way more clouds than in a typical March. Thick clouds block up to 80% of the sun’s energy. And that’s a big deal if you’re a solar powered plant, like a Tulip!
Some of my favorite pictures of the kids are of them running through the blooming fields of Tulips on a chilly Oregon day in Woodburn. I’m hoping for more pictures like that this year. Good thing the festival runs until May.
In the meantime, maybe you’ll come across some blooms in your own yard to brighten things up!