PNW Flowers and Festivals

 
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If you have ever been to Portland Oregon you probably know that it rains A LOT. One benefit of all this rain though is the beautiful flowers that we get! I am honestly the happiest and most inspired when visiting a gorgeous field of flowers! Sunshine, flower fields and a sun dress are my go-to during the warmer months here! The past few years since I moved back to Portland, I have constantly been discovering new flower spots and flower festivals. I don’t know if it is because of Instagram, but I feel like flower festivals have blown up in the past few years and it can be hard to keep track of them all! I always get so many messages when I visit a gorgeous field of flowers and for you Portland locals, I wanted to share the best flower spots and festivals that happen each spring and summer.

(Please note that the weather each year does affect when each type of flower is in full bloom. While I’ve done my best to estimate the best time to view each flower, I do recommend double checking each year for the best results)


CHERRY BLOSSOMS

(End of March - Beginning of April)

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The Cherry Blossoms always have signified the end of Winter for me. If you live in the Portland area, you are probably very familiar with the breathtaking rows of cherry blossoms that line the river during this time of year. The waterfront is pretty long so if you are trying to Google maps your way to the cherry blossoms, you will want to type in “Japanese American Historical Plaza” to be taken to the correct spot along the water. The Cherry Blossoms trees create a beautiful arch and walkway which is great for taking photos. They are very popular though so it is always a struggle to get photos without other people in them.

The second place to view some gorgeous cherry blossom trees is a bit of a drive from Portland but totally worth visiting if you can! I went for the first time this year (2019) and it was absolutely beautiful. This location is the state capitol building in Salem, Oregon. There are cherry blossoms on both sides of the large courtyard leading up to the grand building and it is so big, that you can usually find a spot that is not too full of people. The cherry blossoms are usually in full bloom for only about 1-2 weeks so you have to make sure to sneak in a visit before they start to fall!

TULIPS

(First two weeks of April)

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The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival has become an annual favorite of mine! This festival has been going on for years but somehow I had never heard of it until my later years in College. Since then though, I have gone every year with friends (check out the gallery for some throwback photos). Located only about 45 minutes south of Portland (kind of near the Woodburn outlet), the tulips fields are perfect for the whole family as well as canine friends. Since this festival takes place during the beginning of spring, it can often be pretty muddy! I’ve done my best to plan out my visits during drier weekends but make sure to bring some backup rain boots just in case! The festival costs $20 per car or you can buy a season pass. They also have the option to visit the fields for sunrise and sunset where you can come and stay an hour early. I did that this year (2019) which was a cool experience although the weather did not cooperate so unfortunately they did not release the hot air balloons during sunrise as they some times do. The festival is always so packed so I recommend trying to get there early. Luckily there are around 40 acres of tulips so although it might be packed, it is still possible to get some pictures without people in the background if you walk to the further ends of the field. In addition to taking photos and enjoying the colorful flowers, they also have many entertainment options for children as well as food, wine and artisan booths. This festival goes on for several weeks with a wide range of events that take place on different days.

Learn more about the festival here

PEONIES

(Last week of May - first two weeks of June)

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Peonies and peony fields definitely seem to be more rare! I first heard about the Adelman Peony Gardens two years ago and it has been a fun tradition to add. These fields are on private property so while they do open them up for guests, there is way less parking and there are no activities, food or bathrooms available. They are located about 20 minutes away from Salem so it is a bit of a drive if you are coming from Portland. I would say the fields are a lot less crowded since it is not a festival so it is really easy to get photos without other people in the background. In the parking area there is a small garden that has peonies planted if you want to walk around and view the names. Across from there is a place where you can buy peonies although I’ve never seen any that look very full or beautiful for sale there. A decent walk away is where the actual peonies are planted which is the best spot to get photos. Although visiting the fields does not cost any money, they do have the option to pay in order to visit the fields for sunset which looks amazing although is kind of pricey. Sadly I have had bad experience with the customer service there so while it is absolutely gorgeous there, that has negatively tainted my experience.

Learn more about the garden here

ROSES

(June)

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My top places to view roses in the city are the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park and Peninsula Park. Unfortunately I do not have any recent photos from the rose garden (though I did get my high school senior photos taken there) but it is an absolutely beautiful place to walk around!

Peninsula Park was one of those hidden gems that I had never heard of until last year! Every time I go, I feel like I have been transported into a fairytale or am in some secret garden in France. There is a fountain in the center and then different pathways through the roses. Both places are completely free to enjoy with street parking nearby.

LAVENDER

(End of June - first two weeks of July)

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I have always loved lavender as a scent and a flower so I was really excited when I went to my first lavender festival in 2018. If you are a huge lavender fan as well, you are in luck because there are so many fields and festivals within about an hours drive from Portland. The only festival I have had a chance to visit so far is the Clackamas County Lavender Festival in Oregon City. This festival is great for the whole family and has food, artisan booths, live music and the option to cut your own lavender to take home! It costs $5 per vehicle to get in which is pretty cheap as far as some festivals go. If you do not like bees, definitely beware since the rows of lavender are always humming with the sound of thousands of bees hard at work! The lavender lemonade here is also amazing and the best I have ever had. This festival only happens one weekend a year but as I mentioned, there are so many festivals that usually land on different weekends so there are a ton of chance to enjoy lavender season.

Learn about the Clackamas County Lavender Festival here

Here are some links to upcoming lavender festivals in the area for 2019:

  • Lavender DAZE in Hood River - July 6 to July 7th. Learn more here

  • Helvetia Lavender Festival - July 12th to July 14th. Learn more here

  • Willamette Valley Lavender Festival - July 13th to July 14th. Learn more here

SUNFLOWERS

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Sunflowers are one of my favorite flower and I love that they are in full bloom during my birthday month of August! I’ve been lucky to find a few great places to enjoy them over the years. If you are looking for flower festival vibes, there is Sunflower Saturday at the Packer Orchards in Hood River which is about 1.5 hours east from Portland. I went a few years ago and it was a fun, small event that had food to try and buy, the option to cut your own sunflowers and some games for kids. Tickets are $5 per person and it is a great excuse to explore Hood River.

Some other great places I have found to view sunflowers are on Sauvie Island at the Sauvie Island Farms where you can also pick berries and purchase other flowers. Their sunflower patch is not very big but if you are just looking for some photos, then it works well and is not as far! Same with the West Union Gardens out in Hillsboro, there is the option to pick berries while you are out there. The sunflower field is actually outside of the entrance and is HUGE. There is a suggested donate box for the upkeep of the field. I actually discovered this field when I collaborated with Klaxon Productions to film this video.

Learn more about the Sunflower Saturday here

Learn more about Sauvies Island Farms here

Learn more about the West Union Gardens here

DAHLIAS

(End of August - Beginning of September)

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The last festival of the summer is the Swan Island Dahlia Festival. This is one of the newer festivals I have heard of and sadly I have only been able to make it one year in 2017 though I am hoping to go again this year! This festival is located in Canby, Oregon about 30 minutes South of Portland and is the largest festival I would say. There are a ton of tents selling food and drinks, the option to buy Dahlias to take home and during the day, there is live music to listen to. Although there are less carnival styled games compared to the tulip festival, this is still a family friendly event. One thing I really appreciated about the set up was that each row of dahlia's had a sign with the name of that flower. Reading all of the names was honestly one of the best parts of this festival. There is also a room set up inside where you can view all of the dahlias as well if you aren't one to want to walk around in the hot sun. Little did I know, dahlias come in so many shapes and colors and sizes! This festival is completely free but is only open two weekends of the year during the end of August and the beginning of September.

Learn more about the festival here

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Thank you so much for reading! I hope you love visiting all of these places as much as I do! I am constantly looking for new flower fields so if I missed anything, please send me a message and let me know! I update this post each year so make sure to check back for any updates to these festivals or to learn about new places I found!

Make sure to also check out my friend Chelsee's post on flower spots in the area here