Many of us want to be outside in spring and summer, enjoying the flowers blooming. Even though it is often pretty rainy in Oregon, stretches of sunny weather bring residents outdoors to enjoy the weather. Two outstanding flower-specific nurseries in Marion County have lovely gardens – Schreiner’s Gardens for irises and the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. Both of these are must-sees, and there are special events for the season that appeal to everyone, from small children to artists looking to be inspired by the flowers.

flower farms Marion County
A peaceful moment among the iris beds at Schreiner’s Gardens in Salem, with seating in the garden to enjoy a long look or sketch the flowers. Photo credit: Evan Lewis

Schreiner’s Gardens

3625 Quinaby Road NE, Salem

Schreiner’s Gardens is an Oregon institution, and it is part of the reason our state leads the country in iris cultivation. Schreiner’s irises are hard to miss for anyone who has driven north of Salem on I-5 during the spring. With 150 acres of irises and a thriving bulb business year-round, Schreiner’s draws visitors from around the Northwest.

One of the highlights for anyone who loves iris is the annual bloom period, usually in May. Tickets go on sale in late March for Bloom Season 2024, when most visitors come to the garden. Unlike other times of the year, the display gardens and some iris beds will be open to the public to walk through.

The gift shop is open during the event, and the garden boasts an amazing array of cut stems for visitors to buy, as well as potted plants. Picnics are welcome, and the garden has many picnic tables where visitors can gather to eat.

flower farms Marion County
One of the many colorful beds of irises at Schreiner’s Gardens in Salem. The flower farm is a national leader in hybridizing and selling irises. Photo credit: Evan Lewis

Memorial Day weekend is the annual Artist Fair at the garden. For any amateur or professional artist, Bloom Season is when the garden is open and available for you to photograph or paint the flowers. Schreiner’s Gardens welcomes those who want to come and spend that time being inspired by the grounds.

For those wishing to avoid crowds, there is a special 7 to 9 a.m. slot that you can purchase tickets for. This is especially a good time for artists because the light on the flowers is so lovely, but remember that the gift shop won’t be open that early.

flower farms Marion County
A view of Schreiner’s Gardens in Salem with both irises and other spring flowers. Photo credit: Evan Lewis

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

33814 S Meridian Road, Woodburn

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is located north of Salem in Woodburn and has become a favorite for families every spring. Tulip Fest is the big event at the tulip farm, running between March 22 and May 5 this year. Peak bloom is slated to be the first two weeks in April, but the tulips will be beautiful throughout the blooming season. People come from all over Oregon to walk in the acres of blooming tulips and take photos.

In addition to walking through the fields, visitors can also experience one of the many special events at the farm. Food is available at the food carts parked at the farm, and there’s a gift shop, wine-tasting area, and the opportunity to buy cut tulips and bulbs. Kids can ride carnival rides and get balloon animals. There’s also the opportunity to see wooden shoes being made on the weekends.

flower farms Marion County
Some of the jewel-toned tulips on view at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn during Tulip Fest. Photo credit: GoToVan

Hot air balloon rides (both free and tethered) are available at Tulip Fest on Thursdays through Sundays but keep in mind that they are always weather permitting. Winds over 8 mph mean that the balloons cannot fly. There is also a run (5k, 10k, and half marathon) through the tulip fields on March 23. Different weekends also have various partners, from an Easter service adjoining the fields to a blood drive, so check the special events for the weekend you plan to attend.

The Oregon Garden

879 W Main Street, Silverton

Open year-round, The Oregon Garden is a giant botanical garden spread over 80 acres in Silverton. Visitors experience multiple kinds of gardens, from a children’s garden to the A-Mazing water garden, with different plants at their best at various times of the year. A tram runs through the garden between April and October, and it’s an excellent opportunity to see the whole site or an easy way to move between the many gardens.

Marion Demonstration Garden

3180 Center Street, Salem

While much smaller than The Oregon Garden, the Marion Demonstration Garden is free and constantly changing, which makes it a great destination for those interested in seeing changing displays. Open year-round, the garden advertises 30 changing themes and often runs workshops and classes run by the Master Gardeners. It’s a great place to enjoy a picnic, especially if you want to stay within Salem but experience a well-run garden.

Marion County boasts some outstanding options for experiencing flowers in bloom. For anyone wanting to get that perfect photo in a flower field (and maybe even with hot air balloons in the background), these farms and gardens are worth a visit!

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