The Abbotsford Tulip Festival, BLOOM was founded by Alexis Warmerdam, a passionate third- generation Canadian tulip farmer and fourth generation bulb grower with Lakeland Flowers. The festival’s breathtaking techno-coloured display of over 2.5 million tulips in a beautiful country setting has attracted visitors from all over the world and is quickly becoming an annual spring must-see event.
Located just an hour outside of Vancouver and minutes from the Sumas-Abbotsford border, Abbotsford Tulip Festival is the ultimate spring experience. Over 100,000 visitors are invited to enjoy the view, get up close with the blooms, and tiptoe through the expansive tulip fields during this limited time event.
Peter Warmerdam and his family immigrated from the Netherlands and settled in the Fraser Valley in 1950. Peter proudly brought his Dutch heritage, horticultural knowledge and farming experience to the Bradner area – here he would grow a few acres of daffodil flowers.
In 1974, Peter purchased land in Abbotsford’s Sumas Prairie, where he began growing gladiolus. Not long after, the family farm expanded their crops to include outdoor tulips, daffodils, and peonies along with greenhouse tulips and daffodils.
Peter’s passion for all things flowers was one that the entire Warmerdam family shared. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when Alexis, Peter’s granddaughter, came up with the idea for the Bloom Tulip Festival – so locals and tourists alike could stroll through our tulip fields and enjoy the breathtaking display of color, along with other eye-catching activities in the field.
THE LIFE CYCLE OF A TULIP
Fall – Bulbs are imported in large shipping containers from the Netherlands. They get to Canada by way of ocean freightliners. The tulip bulbs arrive at Peter Warmerdam’s farm in late September – and they begin planting them in the field at the beginning of October.
Winter – During the winter months, the tulip bulbs lay dormant in the field. Their only protection from the elements being the furrowed row of soil and a layer of straw. However, the bulbs are susceptible to damage if planted in a poorly drained field. Which explains why they take great care in protecting their bulbs from unfavourable weather conditions, by monitoring the field drainage, the slope of the land, and choosing the optimum soil type for a successful flower season.
Spring – Tulip flowers are harvested during the month of April. The flowers are hand picked by a group of dedicated workers before being carefully bunched and packaged for distribution. The flowers that are not picked, become the eventual canvas for the brilliant display of colour that is Bloom.
Once the tulip flowers have completed their flowering cycle, a specialized piece of farm equipment removes the petals from the stem, which allows the bulb to mature. (Bulb growth continues even after the flower has been picked.) By the second week in May, the tulips have completed their blooming cycle.
Summer – Approximately 8 weeks after the flowers have bloomed and the bulbs have matured, bulbs are being harvested. A modified potato harvester digs the bulbs in mid-June, which are then transported by large wagons to the farm. The bulbs are then unloaded via a hopper, then moved through a tank of water which washes away any excess soil. The clean bulbs are then dried, graded and placed in wooden crates. The bulbs are then stored in temperature controlled rooms over the summer, waiting to begin the tulip bulb’s next life cycle.
· 36737 North Parallel Road, Abbotsford BC
· Hours: 9am – 7:30pm (weather dependent)
· Abbotsford Tulip Festival is located approximately 1 hour from the Vancouver area
· Please note that entry is closed after 7:30pm (weather dependent) but visitors may stay in the fields until dusk.
We would like to share with you our Vancouver4Life photos from the Abbotsford Tulip Festival in 2018.
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