A change of plans on the weekend yielded an opportunity to attend the 24th Annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival near the Mount Vernon / Burlington area of Washington. Fortune favoured me for once, and I toured while the flowers were at their peak. Tulipa ‘Ile de France’ was one of about four dozen cultivars of tulips that could be seen in the fields, bordered by hundreds of people. Though I didn’t photograph during my preferred times of the day (i.e., early morning and late evening), the weather was in my favour – cloudy with sunny breaks provided light that was suitable for midday photography as it gave a changing environment of soft diffuse light and harsh direct light. The latter is usually not so desirable, but with tulips, it is an opportunity to take photographs with backlighting. Today’s photograph is one of 381 that survived my first round of discarding lower-quality shots.
‘Ile de France’ is a multi-use tulip; it is suitable for cut flowers, bedding plantings or container plantings. It was my favourite of the day; since the bulbs can be planted close together, the effect of the mass planting was a solid ribbon of red which I found very appealing (other cultivars require more space between individuals, so the en masse colouration was not as dense).
Although some of the tulips in the fields are sold as cut flowers, much of the field production of tulips in this instance are sold as bulbs.