Flower Bulbs Online

Flower Bulbs Online

The early years of bulb farming Pacific Northwest.

Monday, May 15th, 2017 2:09pm

While Earle Darst worked for his dad in the bulb business, across the bay at Neil Noorlag’s, Bill Roosen and Hank DeGoede apprenticed in Skagit County.

Hank eventually went into business for himself forming DeGoede Bulb Farms.

Bill Roozen, took advantage of a gentleman’s agreement among growers and sold bulbs that he did not grow, receiving a 10 % DISCOUNT from his boss and other growers in the valley.

After several years of “sales” the local growers terminated the offer to sell bulbs to Roozen and he started growing bulbs of his own.

DeGoede moved to Oregon then back to Skagit Valley.

Roozen expanded his operation to become one of the largest grower in the States.

Darst eventually moved from Whidbey Island to Skagit County then finally back to Whidbey Island.


Fragrant Narcissus Bulb Sale

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 9:28am

Fragrant Narcissus Bulb Sale direct from the flower grower! Darst Bulb Farms is offering a GIANT fragrant Narcissus sale for home gardeners, landscapers and flowers lovers.

These fragrant Narcissus are ready for this fall planting and guaranteed to bloom in the Spring. The fragrant narcissus are of the same family as daffodils but have sensational fragrance that are absent in most daffodils. Fragrant narcissus are one of the first flowers to bloom in the Spring. Add an early splash of color to your flower beds and aroma that perfume connoisseurs can only dream about creating.

Dart Bulb Farms offers several combinations of fragrant narcissus for your selection. We have six varieties of fragrant narcissus:

NOTE: Bulbs should be planted 5-6 inches deep with a bone meal fertilizer or flower bulb fertilizer. (Mulch on top in colder regions.)

fragrant narcissus bulbs

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Tuesday, November 03rd, 2009 2:33pm

Earle E. DasrtDarst Bulb Farms has the oldest continuous history of family flower bulb farming in the Pacific Northwest. 1929, Samish Island, Washington was the cradle of flower bulb farming in the United States. Harry Smith grew flower bulbs on the Ebey’s Landing Historical Land preserve in 1930. By 1932 the bulb growers, Neil Noorlag and Tony Van Havern moved the flower bulb farm from Samish Island to Skagit County Washington. It was this same year that Madeline Darst convinced her husband to grow blue bulbulous iris flower bulbs called Wedgewood on Whidbey Island in conjunction with the family crops of potatoes, turkeys and grain. Glen Darst and son Earle Darst drove to Mount Vernon, Washington in a 1932 Ford Sedan to buy iris flower bulb seed from Noorlag for one dollar a pound. They loaded the back seat and trunk with 1000 pounds of iris flower bulb seed.

From 1933 until 1936 Neil Noorlag bought all the saleable bulbs (8cm and up) from Darst Bulb Farms and exchanged for more iris flower bulb seed at $1.00 a pound. By 1936 the flower bulbs had increased to 2 acres. In 1937 Noorlag could not buy any saleable iris flower bulbs from Darst Bulb Farms. Darst contacted with American Bulb Company who bought the entire crop. The iris bulbs were shipped by refrigerated train car from Mount Vernon Washington to New York City.

1941 Darst Bulb Farms had increased to 12 acres of Wedgewood iris flower bulbs. At this time all flower bulbs worldwide were dug by hand.

1942 Earle Darst received his degree of Graduate of Agronomy and Economics from Oregon State University.

In the summer of 1942 Glen Darst commissioned Earle to build a mechanized flower bulb digger to harvest the ever increasing acreage of flower bulbs. It took 3 men all day to dig 1 quarter mile row of iris flower bulbs. One man would shovel and two men would shake a frame with a wire bottom to remove dirt, leaving just bulbs and rocks. Because of the War there was an extreme shortage of help for the flower bulb harvest. 1942 was the birth year of the first mechanized harvester of underground crops worldwide. Earle Darst designed two synchronized, opposing shakers fed by a chain belt and steel shoe that dug the bulbs on a metal frame that was powered by a small gasoline engine. The shakers delivered the bulbs into wire bottom trays and were pulled by a tractor. This same flower bulb harvester (although now self propelled) harvested the 2007 iris flower bulb crop on Whidbey Island, Washington.

1950 Earle started an iris hybridization program and 20 years later introduced 5 of his hybrids into the international market for commercial sale. A beautiful yellow iris “Enchantress” has survived the rigorous test of time and is still sold today.

By 1951 Darst Bulb Farms had grown to the largest iris bulb farm in the United States.

1969 Earle Darst became the Chairman of the Washington
State Bulb Commission

By 1972 Darst Bulb Farms was growing more than 200 acres of flower bulbs in Skagit and Island Counties. The Largest flower bulb grower in the world!

1983 until present 2008, DARST BULB FARMS INC operated solely on Whidbey Island producing fresh flowers for the regional grocery market. The harvest of flowers starts March 1 with a nice selection of yellow daffodils, followed by fragrant narcissus. This array of color blends into blue, white and yellow iris continuous through June. Glads (gladiolus) dominate the fields until September 1st. Medium brilliant florist sunflowers overlap the glads starting in Mid June and continue until Halloween.

Earle Darst at 98 years young, on October 20th, 2015, ended a career that he said he “wouldn’t trade for any other job. Flowers conquer the world.”

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