What’s with the Tulips?

What’s with the Tulips?

Tulips, Holland Happening

April’s dawn breathes an awakening for this sleepy island. After months of cold gray clouds and dreary scenes, color finally breaks from the ground beneath. As the velvet grass returns it brings with it something a little more unique and exciting.

TULIPS!

These trumpet-like flowers can be found all across Whidbey Island in the month of April. Their beautiful rainbow hues grace countless flower beds and practically every floral shop.

Why the obsession with these bell-shaped buds?

The answer lies within Whidbey Island history and heritage.

In the earliest days of Whidbey Island settlement there were few Americans established on the island, even after the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 which allowed for free land claim until 1855. In 1894 a man by the name of John “R.E.” Werkman gained the rights to market land on Whidbey Island for one of the recently developed land companies. He set off to Holland, Michigan where he displayed a foot-long potato to impress local farmers with the fruitfulness of Whidbey Island – it worked.

A few months later the steamer Idaho found its way to the Penn Cove dock with 18 Hollanders direct from The Netherlands. The Dutch population on Whidbey Island expanded rapidly on Whidbey and within two years there were over 200 Dutch immigrants populating the island. This drastic increase in population helped to recover the island from the 1893 financial downturn and build what would become a sustainable economic climate for Whidbey Island as a whole.

How we honor the heritage today:

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Many direct descendants of these original settlers remain on Whidbey to this day and their family names can be seen on street signs across the island.

Today the island honors these original settlers and their Dutch heritage with one of our most beloved events, the annual Holland Happenings Festival. Taking place on the last weekend of every April, this festival is a fifty-year-old tradition drenched in Dutch heritage. Everywhere you look you will find Volendam hats, wooden clogs, street sweeps, and most of all – tulips.

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With the Skagit tulip fields just on the other side of the Deception Pass Bridge, it’s no wonder the Dutch national flower plays a starring roll in every Holland Happenings. Their bright petals grace posters, pamphlets and just about every float. They are, without a doubt, a symbol of the season and reminder of the past.

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Posted on May 29, 2019 at 5:08 pm
Windermere Whidbey | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Whidbey Island Pop-up Flower Stands

Whidbey Island Pop-up Flower Stands

Whidbey Island, Flower stands, Honesty stands, flowers, gardenWagon, Flowers, Flower stand, honesty stand, whidbey islandFlowers, Vase, Home grown, labor of love, neighborhood, community, whidbey Island, Oak Harbor

Summer on Whidbey is a magical time for many reasons. One of the most idyllic reasons is the beautiful flower stands that pop-up all over the Island as the ground begins to warm up. The best part about these stands is that they are almost all honesty stands, which speaks to the culture we enjoy in our community. Most of them are run by individuals who operate as a labor of love which makes these flowers even that more special! If you see the owners out in there beautiful gardens be sure to wave and say hi.

Greet the flower stand owners:

We were lucky enough to meet Mr. & Mrs. Steineiek off Taylor Road who display there flowers in a beautiful covered wagon. After spending some time with Mrs. Steineisk in her garden, smelling her beautiful flowers she mentioned her husbands family brought the wagon up from Oregon over 100 years ago. What an awesome piece of history! Mr. Steineisk said, “his family drove the horse drawn carriage up to Whidbey in 1915 after sending a family member that lived in Arlington over to check it out. He spent a day walking the island then sent word back saying it would be perfect for there peach orchard”.

Flowers, covered wagon, Stand, whidbey island

Find a flower stand near you:

If you are not blessed with the opportunity to drive past one of these flower stands on your daily “commute” you may not even know they exist or how many are out there.  So we created a map for you! This shows the most well-known stands in the Oak Harbor and Coupeville area. We would love to add more! If you know of any additional stands please send us pictures, a specific location, what they typically offer, cost, etc. and we will add it to the map!

Whidbey Island Pop-up Flower Stand Map

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Posted on July 5, 2018 at 9:48 pm
Windermere Whidbey | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,