See Oregon In Bloom At These Spectacular Spring & Summer Flower Festivals
40 acres of candy-colored tulips. Deep purple lilacs edged in white that perfume the air. And rows of pink pom-pom-like peonies as far as the eye can see.
For flower lovers who live in and around Portland, Oregon — or for those who are planning to visit to the area this spring or summer — the end of March kicks off an incredible season of flower festivals that keeps rolling well into September.
Whether you’re a local, or are just in town for a weekend, you don’t want to miss these spectacular celebrations of Pacific Northwest blooms.
With cheery red-and-white windmills and 40 acres of Technicolor tulips, Woodburn, Oregon could be mistaken for The Netherlands during the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, the first area flower festival of the year.
The 39th annual family-friendly celebration includes a children’s play area, food vendors and picnic tables, and rides for young and old alike on trams, hay wagons, and hot air balloons. Don your rubber boots to stroll through the fields, and don’t leave without picking up a few bouquets of just-cut tulips, and potted flowers to plant in your home garden.
Photographers looking to capture the splendor of the vibrant flower fields set against the backdrop of Mt. Hood can visit before the crowds: the special sunrise ticket grants entry from 5 to 7 A.M.
Before you go, check out Wooden Shoe’s online field report to check the current status of the blooms.
Hot pink, bright white, and cotton candy pink camellias are one of the first harbingers of spring in Oregon: they begin to bloom even while there are still flurries in the air. And every year, the charming city of Newburg — a Willamette Valley wine country destination just 25 miles outside of Portland — celebrates this singular bloom with the Newberg Camellia Festival.
This year marks the festival’s 15th year. But it will feature the 82nd Annual Bloom Show hosted by the Oregon Camellia Society, a statewide competition where the flowers are judged by size, color, and form. In addition to the show, there’s a full schedule of events, including a plant sale, 5k and 10k run/walk, and vendor marketplace. There are also cultural events honoring the flower’s roots in East and Southeast Asia, including a tea ceremony, Taiko drumming performance, Ikebana flower arranging demo, and dragon dancers.
Time-travel back to the Victorian era at Lilac Days, which takes place at an 1880s farmhouse and national historic site located in Woodland, Washington, about 30 minutes north of Portland .
The sweet farmhouse and its surrounding country gardens are the former home of Hulda Klager, who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany with her family in 1865 when she was two years old, and eventually settled here. As a hobby, Klager started dabbling with hybridizing lilacs. By 1920, she’d developed so many new varieties that she began holding an open house each spring when the spring posies were in bloom. “The Lilac Lady” continued opening her home to flower aficionados for the next four decades, right up until her death in 1960 at the ripe old age of 96.
Today, volunteers from the local Lilac Society pay homage to Klager and the flower she dedicated herself to by maintaining her fragrant gardens brimming with blooms in colors including purple, white, and pink — plus less common shades of blue, yellow, and bicolor varieties.
Peony season is short: their flowering period typically lasts just two or three weeks. Maximize the season of these gorgeous, fleeting blooms with a visit to Adelman’s in Salem, Oregon, about 40 miles southwest of Portland.
Stroll through a beautiful display garden, then walk through 30 acres of production fields showcasing the flowers in every shade of pink and white. The indoor peony displays exhibit dozens of exquisite varieties, and there are plenty of cut and potted blooms to take home.
Peak bloom time usually arrives around Memorial Day weekend, but varies each year depending on the spring weather, so check back for the current bloom schedule before you visit.
Adelman’s is only about 2.5 miles away from Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (below) and their bloom seasons overlap, so consider planning a visit to see them both on the same day.
‘Cherry Blossom Song,’ ‘Medici Prince,’ ‘Impressionist,’ and ‘Gingersnap.” These are just a few of the 500 iris varieties of irises visitors will see in Schreiner’s dreamy display gardens, which opens to the public when the flowers peak in May.
The display garden explodes with bearded and beardless irises in rare colors like pale blue, copper, deep burgundy, and pale peach accented with bright orange and deep purple. And the variations are endless, including vibrant “throats,” intricate ruffles and lacey edges, and delicate pointed “horns.” While the irises are the stars of the show, they’re all set against a backdrop of other beautiful perennials like lupine, allium, poppies, and delphinium.
Visitors can also stroll through the vast production fields with views of Mt. Hood, and won’t want to leave without picking up a massive bouquet (or three) of the intricate, oversized blossoms.
You don’t need to travel to Provence to walk amid undulating seas of aromatic lavender in every shade of purple (and white, silver, pink, and blue too).
The Willamette Valley Lavender Festival is held annually in Newberg, Oregon to showcase the flowering herb in all its fragrant forms: from fresh-cut bundles to dried bouquets, live plants to handmade crafts, art, and culinary offerings. Food trucks serve up both sweet and savory lavender-laced dishes, as well as cocktails.
Lavender lovers can also visit two lovely u-pick farms along Newberg’s “Lavender Trail,” Wayward Winds (above) and Chehalem Flats Farm Market. Both destinations have dozens of varieties to discover, along with soaps and lotions, honey, jam, and more delicious culinary creations. Both will be open during July and August, but check the farms’ websites in summer for specific bloom dates.
Every August and into September, the country’s largest dahlia producer welcomes visitors to their 50-acre farm to take in 375 varieties of rainbow-colored dahlias, many of which were first cultivated here.
In addition to the blooms, visitors can enjoy live music, food carts, Sunday farmer’s markets, and classes. Pick up bouquets of fresh-cut dahlias and order your favorites in tuber form for spring delivery. The festival is the perfect farewell to summer, and a great way to look ahead to the spring planting season.