Spring is in the Air

August 20, 2020

I love spring! Of all the seasons it is my favorite. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was born in the spring or that green is my favorite color or any number of other reasons but it is the one season that resonates with me the strongest.

I love watching tender new shoots push up through the soil, how the buds on branches start to swell and burst open into bloom and listening to the exuberant song of the robin as he sings to attract a mate.

Of all the seasons, I look forward to spring the most. It holds the promise of rebirth and regrowth and a new beginning. So it is no big surprise that many of the spring blooming flowers are some of my favorites; tulips, narcissus, hellebore, violets, viburnum, quince, tulip magnolia, etc

Lucky for me…or I should say ‘us’, out in Hillsboro spring comes early at Hubrich Farms. Owner Grant Hubrich and family provides the wholesale flower market and us local florists with beautiful, and much welcomed, forced spring flowers from Late November through May. Starting with paperwhite narcissus with their wonderful sweet fragrance and holiday amaryllis with their big, bold blooms then followed by both potted and cut hyacinth, tulips, crocus and narcissus which continue on until late spring when the French tulips take and field grown narcissus come into play.

After many stressful years working as an engineer for Intel, Grant decided to go back to his roots, so to speak, and do something he loves…growing tulips, hyacinths and other spring blooming bulbs. Having grown up in Washington State and spending his teenage years working on a flower farm, it was a natural choice for him to rediscover his passion. And by chance one day as he was driving to work, he noticed a ‘for sale’ sign on a small 2 acre farm in Hillsboro. Thought it took a while to transition from an Intel project manager to flower farmer, it was a decision he never regretted.  20 + years later things are going strong.

Starting in September, the family starts potting up 300,000 to 400,000 tulips, hyacinths, crocus, grape hyacinths, narcissus, paperwhites and amaryllis which then go into cold storage(except for the Amaryllis and paperwhites) for several months while their roots develop. These coolers are filled to the ceiling with crates at the start of the season. Most spring flowering bulbs need a period of cold in order for them to grow and produce flowers.

Bulbs get potted into 4” and 6” pots for sale as plants and in large crates for cut flower production. Each crate holds about 100 bulbs.

French tulips(Grant’s favorite) and several varieties of narcissus get planted in the fields that run alongside and behind the greenhouses.  It turns out that French tulips don’t like to be forced in the greenhouse. As you can see, the day I visited it was quite wet and the bulbs were just starting to emerge.

Along with the spring bulbs, Hubrich grows annuals in hanging baskets and a variety of produce to sell at farmer’s markets in the area. This part of the operation is taken over by his son which gives Grant a chance to sail is boat and take a much needed summer break before the whole process starts again in September.

His favorite part of the day is being alone in the greenhouse first thing in the morning cutting tulips. What a great way to start your day!