Pacific Northwest

March, 2006
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs from April 1-30, 2006. This spectacular display of blossoms is really a spring rite in the Northwest, when hundreds of acres burst into bloom, announcing the official end of winter. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a community event, and activities include everything from art shows and concerts to organized walks, runs, and bike rides. The Downtown Mount Vernon Street Fair has juried arts and crafts, and a variety of festival foods. The Kiwanis Salmon Barbecue is a complete salmon dinner held at beautiful Hillcrest Park.

Roozengaarde has lots of daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses in bloom now, and Tulip Town opens April 1. For details of scheduled events and driving directions, call (360) 428-5959, or visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Web site: http://www.tulipfestival.org.

Favorite or New Plant

Love-in-a-Mist
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) has it all: beautiful flowers; graceful, finely cut foliage; and showy seedpods. The 1-inch-wide flowers resemble cornflowers floating within a lacy mist of green feathery leaves.

Love-in-a-mist doesn't require highly fertile soil but appreciates evenly moist ground. It blooms for only three to four weeks in midsummer in my garden, but I extend its season by leaving behind some of the seedpods. I find that seedpods look attractive for several weeks, and when they open, they scatter seeds to produce next year's crop.

'Miss Jekyll' is a variety I really love. Its flowers open a pale sky-blue, then change to progressively deeper shades of blue, finally turning a rich indigo. Also tops on my list are 'Persian Jewels', an elegant blend of mauve, lavender, blue, pink, white, and purple; and 'Mulberry Rose', which blooms in shades of deep green, and produces maroon-striped seedpods.

Not only attractive in the garden, love-in-a-mist blossoms, foliage, and dried pods add an airy delicacy to flower arrangements.

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