Tantalizing tulips: Springtime at Ananda (VIDEO) | TheUnion.com

Tantalizing tulips: Springtime at Ananda (VIDEO)

Spring has sprung, and up at Ananda Village, the flowers are blooming. The annual tulip festival, Springtime at Ananda, at the Crystal Hermitage Gardens begins this weekend.

Only 20 minutes outside of Nevada City, the gardens sit on the San Juan Ridge and overlook the Tahoe National Forest and Yuba River Canyon. With more than 75 types of tulips and over 15,000 tulip bulbs planted, the gardens are a sight to see.

"This is the earliest they've bloomed in 25 years," landscape designer Nancy Mair said.

The mild winter has caused an early spring, and beginning today, the gardens are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mair says along with the tulips, the flowering cherries, dogwoods, and wisteria are coming into bloom.

"It's a very unique year with everything coming in early," says Mair. "It should be really glorious starting Easter weekend."

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The event weekends are the first three weekends in April. There will be food, musical entertainment, and opportunities to speak with the lead gardener and award-winning landscape designer.

Guests can tour areas, like the lower gardens, pools, and the main house filled with international art and furnishings, which are normally only available by appointment.

"Everyone is invited to this event," says lead gardener Kerry Mair. "We have wheelchair access, so people in wheelchairs can actually come into one particular parking place and set up in one of the most beautiful terraces in the whole garden."

Visitors are encouraged to picnic at Master's Market in downtown Ananda Village, or make reservations at the Expanding Light Retreat Center for lunch or overnight stays.

The event weekends offer free admission for children 12 and under, and $5 for adults. Season passes are available for $10 allowing guests to come as many times as they want while the tulips are in bloom. All proceeds of Springtime at Ananda go into the Crystal Hermitage Gardens.

"Other times of the year, the upper gardens are open for free," says Nancy Mair. "They are always open, so we want people to really feel welcome."

For more information, visit http://www.crystalhermitage.org or call 530-478-7574.

Nevada County resident Laura Mahaffy is a freelance photographer and writer.