Woodland in Bloom

By Pat Nelson

Valley Bugler Columnist

Woodland welcomes sweet and spicy blooms and thousands of visitors each April and May to the Woodland Tulip Festival and Lilac Days, located less than two miles apart.

The Holland America Flower Gardens invites visitors to the Woodland Tulip Festival where they can enjoy beautiful flowers and a vintage car and camper show April 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the festival continues the weekends of April 15-16 and April 22-23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with tulip show fields, a vendor and artisan market, bulbs to order, a u-pick garden, activities, music and food. Entrance and parking are free.

The gift shop is open year around with brilliantly colored cut flowers and floral arrangements, including a full-service floral design center.

Owners Benno and Klazina Dobbe moved from the Netherlands in 1980 and started raising bulbs and flowers with a dream of growing the best cut tulips on the market.

Visit the tulip fields sunup to sunset seven days a week during April.

Less than two miles away is another spot with sweet-smelling spring blooms, the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens. Hulda Klager came to Woodland 140 years ago at the age of 13. She had arrived in the United States from Germany at age two with her parents, Godfried and Wilhelmina Thiel. The family built a lovely Victorian farmhouse in 1889, where Hulda and her husband Frank later lived. This remained Hulda’s home until her death in 1960.

Hulda became interested in hybridizing plants in the early 1900s, especially apples. She crossed the Wolf River apple with the Bismarck in order to grow a larger apple with less peel. Her goal was to save peeling time when making pies. In 1905, she went on to hybridize lilacs, and in five years, she created 14 new varieties. In 1920, she had hybridized so many lilacs that she decided to hold an open house each spring. That was the beginning of Lilac Days, and that’s when folks started referring to Hulda as The Lilac Lady.

This year, Lilac Days will be held From April 16 through Mothers’ Day, May 8. Visitors from around the world will tour the gardens and Hulda’s Victorian home, a national historic site. The gift shop, located in the original barn, will also be open, and lilac plants will be for sale. Gardens will be open 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and admission is $3, payable at the gate. Children 12 and under may enter free when accompanied by an adult, and the gardens are wheelchair and walker accessible.

Holland America Flower Gardens                                    

1066 S. PekinRd.                                                                   

Woodland, WA 98674                                               



Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens

115 S. Pekin Rd.

Woodland, WA 98674


Pat Nelson, is co-creator of three humorous and sometimes edgy anthologies: ‘Not Your Mother’s Book: On Being a Parent’ (Amazon.com & retailers); On Being a Grandparent; and On Working for a Living.

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