Leavenworth Washington is well-known for its abundance of sunny days and bright blue skies boasting over 300 days of sunshine on average per year, but believe it or not, it does actually rain on occasion in the early months of each New Year. The saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” couldn’t be a more true when describing spring in Leavenworth, WA, and when the May flowers do arrive, boy do they thrive!
The earliest bloomers are typically the Glacier Lilies which can be seen all around the Ski Hill area in town. Their delicate yellow pedals drop down towards the thawing ground and these small but abundant wildflowers are often seen popping up through the last couple inches of snow as the winter whites give way to spring greens.
As the temperatures in the valley continue to warm, big bright yellow Arrowleaf Balsamroot (pictured above) begins to grow along many roadsides and riverbanks. They then spread higher into the hills and continue all the way up into mountains alongside countless hiking trails. Around the same time that these picturesque flowers reach peak bloom near the valley floor, they are joined by tall purple Lupine, and reddish-orange Indian Paintbrush, followed by multiple types of lilies, and a vast array of different wildflowers that celebrate every color of the rainbow. Many of these wildflowers can be found around the Ski Hill Area and along Icicle Creek Road. Enjoy the views from your vehicle, or find the perfect trail to get up close and personal.
Not only do the riverbanks and hillsides burst with color this time of year, downtown Leavenworth also competes for floral glory with beautiful hanging flower baskets on every street corner and eye-catching flower displays around storefronts, restaurants, and other downtown businesses. Leavenworth’s annual Maifest Celebration in May always marks the return of the hanging flower baskets. By August, the flowers in these baskets stretch 5 feet or more and some reach nearly to the ground hanging from old-world style street lights and lamp posts. You can also tour beautiful natural gardens at the Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort and the Upper Valley Museum at Barn Beach has nice trail with a smaller but very diverse garden display.
As spring turns to summer in the Bavarian Village, the flowers continue to get larger and even more abundant, especially in the higher elevations in the mountains. Considering the smaller size and ease of accessibility around downtown Leavenworth, ditch the car and travel the sidewalks to enjoy the variety of flowers, capture some pictures and memories, and literally stop to smell the roses. There’s something about the combination of the Bavarian-themed architecture, the abundance of flowers, the river and the mountains in the distance that truly make you feel like you’ve crossed the ocean and are in a distant magical European town.
Why not take some of the beauty home with you? Area wildflowers and potted plants downtown aren’t for picking, but there are plenty of ways to responsibly enjoy some of these flowers in your own garden or home. Visit our local nurseries and farms where you can purchase a variety of flora for viewing or eating. Several options include Jan’s Hanging Gardens, Leavenworth Greenhouse and Nursery, Roots Produce and Flower Farm, or the Leavenworth Community Farmer’s Market in Lions Club Park that occurs every Thursday evening through the summer months.
Whether you want to take pictures, or hike through the mountains, or go wine tasting, or shop ’til you drop downtown, flowers are visible everywhere you turn in Leavenworth Washington. Enjoy nature’s show!