If you haven’t found them already, make sure to go see the spectacular ribbon of yellow sweeping through Flowers Field at Dorothea Dix Park. The story behind the wave of daffodils is as unexpected as the blooms themselves.
Dix Park is known for some stunning surprises - like that secret garden of sunflowers for example. To keep the wonders coming, the horticulture team with Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources dreamed up the idea of planting a hidden swath of spring bulbs that would emerge through the middle of the field winding towards the Raleigh skyline. To make this dream a reality, Raleigh Parks commissioned a special bulb-planting machine.
The machine, designed in Holland, can automatically plant thousands of bulbs in a matter of minutes leaving the field seemingly undisturbed. Here’s how it works: As the bulb-planting machine is pulled behind a tractor, two blades slice open and lift-up the turf. The bulbs move down through a funnel into the open row in the ground. As the machine rolls forward, the grass is closed back over the newly laid bulbs.
On a sunny day in November 2018, Brent and Becky's Bulbs arrived with their machine from Gloucester, Virginia and the Raleigh Parks crew helped fill the hopper with bulbs as the tractor made its way through the field. By mid-day the project was complete and a meandering path of 50,000 daffodils were planted!
A mere three months later the first blooms began to appear in the Flowers Field. Now is the perfect time to head out to Dorothea Dix Park to experience the trail of daffodils in all their glory.
Daffodils - Know Before You Go:
- The daffodils are planted in Flowers Field off Umstead Drive behind the Flower Cottage and near the historic cemetery.
- Over 2,000 NC Department of Health and Human Services employees work on the campus each day. Please be respectful of their working environment and avoid all buildings and DHHS parking areas during business hours. On weeknights and weekends, designated parking lots with green striping are available for public use.
- During weekdays, public parking is available in gravel lots along Barbour Drive, at the Soccer Fields, and at the Greenway Trailhead at the South Boylan Street entrance.
- You can walk or bike to the park. Dix Park is located on the Rocky Branch Greenway.
- To see the daffodils up close, walking up hills, in grass and on uneven surfaces will be necessary. We recommend closed-toe shoes.
- The Flower Cottage is operated by the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy and is not open to the public.
- Please do not pick the flowers!
- Please keep your pup on-leash and pick up after them.
- There are only port-a-johns in the park and no drinkable water, so please plan accordingly and enjoy the beautiful blooms!
- Professional photographers are welcome to have sessions at the park, however, all commercial film or photography taking place in a City of Raleigh Park requires a permit. You can apply for an annual film permit directly through the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. This is a one year permit and covers to all City of Raleigh Parks. To apply for the permit, please contact Kathryn Gebhardt with the Parks Department at 919-996-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access and Parking:
- During weekdays, public parking is available ONLY in gravel lots along Barbour Drive, at the Soccer Fields, and at the Greenway trailhead at the South Boylan Street entrance.
- On weeknights and weekends, designated parking lots with green striping are available for public use.
Location: Flowers Field at Dix Park, 2105 Umstead Drive, Raleigh, NC 27603
About Dorothea Dix Park
Dorothea Dix Park is the site of one of the most exciting new park projects in America. The 308-acre site blends historic architecture and rich landscapes into a unique destination in the heart of Raleigh, North Carolina. The effort to create Dorothea Dix Park is a public-private partnership between the City of Raleigh and Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy. The City owns and operates Dorothea Dix Park. The Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that exists to support the City in its efforts, serve as its philanthropic partner, and help ensure the creation and long-term success of Dorothea Dix Park. Learn more at dixpark.org.