|Her creativity shaped it, her hands helped build it and her
passion and love grew it. It was simple really, She believed she could, so
she did. It was RoozenGaarde and she was Bernadette Roozen
Last month, we took you down memory lane and shared how we
became rooted in the tulip bulb industry right here in the Skagit Valley. This
month, we want to share more about the beginnings of RoozenGaarde, how it
became more than just a place to plant bulbs and sell flowers and the family
member who was behind it all - Bernadette.
If you can for a moment, wipe the current vision you have of
RoozenGaarde and its massive displays from your mind. Picture solely a half
acre of land, specifically the old orchard area - its gravel paths, rickety old
fruit trees, and railroad bordered flower beds. Instead of a retail store,
imagine a simple flower stand, with a spunky smiling blonde within it selling
fresh cut flowers. This was RoozenGaarde in its beginnings. A small little
garden with a simple little flower stand, and potential that was anything but
In 1984 the very first Tulip Festival was held. It was then
that Mr. Roozen's farm started to get publicity. He along with his five sons
saw that growing flowers was far more of a business then they ever imagined.
People came from near and far to see them. The experience of driving by fields
carpeted in color, strolling through a small, yet beautiful display garden full
of vibrant blooms, and capturing it all in pictures was highly sought after by
many. It was a business that needed to be shared and somehow, shared
year-round. That's when they turned to Bernadette.
A year later, in 1985, Bernadette's vision created
RoozenGaarde, her hands that built it, and her heart that grew it. The store
was a way for Bernadette to share her passion for gardening and her love of
farming. The store became her baby, "it's very near and dear to my heart. A
lot of it has become a reflection of my life." You see, Bernadette wasn't
trying to sell people on just things, she was selling them on her desire, her
enjoyment, and her love of farming flowers. You couldn't just have flowers
without having bulbs, and you couldn't grow bulbs without proper planting
materials, and if it wasn't the season for planting your garden, it was the
season for prepping it - there was always something to be excited about! You
could walk in the store knowing little to nothing about flowers and bulbs and
walk out ready to create a garden of your own. It was more than just the
beautiful flowers, bulbs, and accessories that made this store, it was the
personality of the young woman behind it. She gave you the experience you were
hoping for, Bernadette allowed you to feel the passion she felt.
In 1996, Bernadette passed away after a long courageous
battle with a rare disease called Amyloidosis. She left behind a store that was
thriving - one that she continued to grow, improve upon, and pour herself into
until the very end. Bernadette will never be forgotten.
It was that girl with her stubborn fiery personality, her
daddy's farming mentality, and her endless creativity that paved the way for us
today. She set the bar and she set it high. No one will ever replace Bernadette
at RoozenGaarde, but that doesn't stop any of us from trying - trying to make RoozenGaarde
better, grow it stronger, and push its success to be larger.
It's no secret that this year, RoozenGaarde experienced our
toughest spring yet. One that could have been the end, but much like
Bernadette, we've realized that RoozenGaarde means far more to us than just a
place, it's our heart and soul, our home away from home, for some part of our
history, and for all a part of our family. We'd like to think Bernadette
continues to watch over us being our biggest cheerleader and our toughest
critic. It's because of her and the groundwork she laid that even in the
hardest of times we want to grow RoozenGaarde.
Like Bernadette, the flowers of the season seem to leave us
all too soon, but that doesn't mean they will be forgotten. Their beauty and
boldness will leave an impression that will last until the next years buds become
full of life. For all of you who have lost someone near and dear to your heart,
know that we are with you, and hope that if nothing else, you will find peace
and serenity within our blooms.
It is our wish that though you haven't been able to come out
and share our tulips with us in person this spring, you've still very much felt
a part of the season. We hope that we have brought you joy in a time of sorrow,
shown you light in a time of darkness, and given you faith in better days