When I lived in Portland, Ore., one of my favorite places to bring out-of-town guests was the rose garden (it was right up there with Multnomah Falls, Mount Hood, and the Bridgeport Brewery as far as “must-see” tourist destinations). It’s actually an international rose test garden run by the city that began in 1917, back when World War I was raging in Europe. It’s a testing ground for new rose varieties (over 10,000 rose plants are grown there), set high on a hill with a breathtaking view of the city’s skyline and snow-capped Mount Hood in the distance, featuring row after row of beautiful, colorful, fragrant roses. I probably went to that rose garden half a dozen times in the months of May, June, and July, encouraged by the fact that it was free and only a few minutes from where I lived (in the trendy Northwest 23rd neighborhood). I soon came to appreciate Portland’s nickname as the “City of Roses” and events like the Portland Rose Festival.
Photo courtesy of Bayfield
Chamber of Commerce
And while I don’t live in the Pacific Northwest anymore, I still appreciate the beauty of blooming flowers in the spring months, which is why the Bayfield in Bloom event, running from May 11-June 10, intrigues me. Bring on those cheery daffodils! That roadside lupine! The rolling orchards of pink and white apple blossoms! I’ll bet there are even a few roses in the mix.
I’ve been meaning to get to the tiny Lake Superior harbor town of Bayfield, Wis., about a three-and-a-half hour drive from the Twin Cities metro, ever since the “Ultimate Up North Guide” ran in our magazine last June, and this celebration of spring sounds right up my alley.
According to the Bayfield website, “As the land re-awakens from it’s wintry slumber and the waters of Lake Superior come to life, Bayfield in spring is abuzz with activity. Cruise by the historic lighthouses of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, take the ferry to Madeline Island, and enjoy special sales on perennial and annual plants of all kinds at area orchards. Take a relaxing walk through the countryside, hike the scenic trails and cliffs along Lake Superior, or fish for dinner in the pristine, clear waters of Gichigami. Better yet, savor the spring harvest of the Chequamegon Bay at one of Bayfield’s gourmet eateries, who carefully craft their menus to take advantage of the freshest local spring produce.”
It sounds magical, doesn’t it?
As if that isn’t enough incentive to go, there’s also a garden tour during the weekend of June 2-3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Saturday, visitors will be able to see plants up close while strolling through the residential area of town. If you’re an amateur gardener or professional horticulturist (or you just like pretty things), you’ll appreciate these leisurely self-guided walking tours. Bonus that the homeowners will be around to answer any questions you may have (like this one: How do you keep those pesky dandelions out of your yard?!). Sunday’s event is a driving tour, with over 12 Bayfield area gardens compiled on one map. Click here for a complete list of Bayfield in Bloom activities (PDF).
In the wise words of Jim Carrey, “Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.”