The Scene

Richardson Farm Tulip Festival: Stop and take in the flowers while tulips are in bloom

Tulip fields flourish best in 50- to 60-degree temperatures

Pierre Steygers poses his dog, Pollux, amid the flowers at Richardson Adventure Farm on Sunday, April 21, 2024. The farm offers several spots for photos amongst the tulip fields.

John Beranek isn’t a big fan of surprises, but he does love flowers.

The surprise his boyfriend, Alonso Turado, had for him Sunday was a road trip from Mundelein to the Richardson Adventure Farm near Spring Grove for its fourth annual spring Tulip Festival. The couple spent part of their day taking selfies surrounded by blooming daffodils.

Other tulip festivals may not like customers walking among the flowers, but Richardson Farm encourages it, Robert Richardson said. Three Richardson families run the farm, which might be best known for its corn maze and sunflower fields in the fall and its Christmas tree farm before adding the tulip festival in 2021.

“At some festivals, you can look at but not touch” flowers that are in bloom, Robert Richardson said. But their festival allows attendees to cut one tulip to take home from the fields as part of their admission ticket and to “get in with the flowers and stuff” to take photos.

Saturday was their first day for the season and ended up cloudy and windy. That didn’t stop women from coming out in sundresses and jackets, taking a quick photo among the flowers that best matched the dress, then putting their coats back on, Robert Richardson said.

John Beranek and Alonso Tirado take selfies together amid the daffodil field at Richardson Adventure Farm on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

How long the festival lasts completely relies on temperatures. The first year took place about 16 days before warmer temperatures forced the flowers to mature. In 2022, the festival lasted less than two weeks because temperatures quickly hit the 70s and 80s, said Wendy Richardson, one of the sisters-in-law who help to operate the farm. Then, in 2023, they got almost three weeks of temperatures that stayed in the 50- to 60-degree range, the sweet spot for tulips.

“When it is warmer, the tulips mature faster” and drop their petals sooner, Robert Richardson said.

How long do they think this year’s festival, which runs from Sunday through as long as the flowers are in bloom, will remain open this year?

“Ask Mother Nature,” Wendy Richardson said.

It is a burst of color after a cold, dark winter.”

—  Robert Richardson of Richardson Adventure Farm

As of Sunday, most but not all of the 1 million tulip and 50,000 daffodil bulbs planted last year were in bloom. Those bulbs are expected to produce for three years, then that section will be plowed under and more bulbs will be planted, Robert Richardson said.

Tulip bulbs can develop a blight, so continuing to change the bulbs every few years helps keep the flowers healthy, he said.

Everyone who comes out to see the flowers seems to love it, Robert Richardson said.

“It is a burst of color after a cold, dark winter,” he said.

It brings the Richardson family something, too, Wendy Richardson said.

“It brings us joy, looking at the people walking in the tulips,” she said. “It is a beautiful spring day. It is nice day with people who are happy all the time.”

Among the happy people were Alan and Carol Gold of Buffalo Grove.

“We have been here before for the sunflower festival. It is a pretty day to see nature at its best,” Alan Gold said.

In addition to allowing ticket holders to take a flower home, Richardson Farm also sells freshly cut and potted tulips during the festival. Tulip bulbs do best when planted in the late fall, so they have not sold bulbs in the past. This year, however, they will have bulbs from Holland available for sale during the fall festivities, Robert Richardson said.

Janelle Walker

Janelle Walker

Originally from North Dakota, Janelle covered the suburbs and collar counties for nearly 20 years before taking a career break to work in content marketing. She is excited to be back in the newsroom.