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Why Daffodil Hill won’t open this season

Mclaughlin’s Daffodil Hill

Visitors enjoy the first day of Spring at McLaughlin's Daffodil Hill in Volcano, Calif., on Monday March 20, 2017.
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Visitors enjoy the first day of Spring at McLaughlin's Daffodil Hill in Volcano, Calif., on Monday March 20, 2017.

The late-winter storms that have struck Northern California have claimed a spring tradition — viewing blooming flowers at Daffodil Hill in Volcano.

The Amador County attraction will not open for the 2018 season, it was announced Tuesday on the site’s Facebook page. A period of warm weather in February started the bulbs blooming and prompted hopes of an early spring opening.

“Since the end of February we have had rain, hail, and snow every week. The early flowers are gone and the ones that are up are badly damaged," according to the Daffodil Hill Facebook post. “We are posting this notice since more rain and snow are expected this week.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting heavy rainfall Thursday throughout California. A cold front moves in Thursday night and predictions for up to 5 feet of snow for higher elevations above 3,500 feet continues through Friday evening, according to the weather service.

Weather plays a determining factor in when Daffodil Hill opens. Last year, more than 300,000 daffodils shone across 36 acres during the March 17 opening.

Though daffodils’ flowering seasons can last between six weeks and six months, according to the American Daffodil Society, last year’s exhibition stayed open for just two weeks before the blooms faded in mid-70s heat and terrain became trampled.

Daffodil Hill is a 7-acre hillside garden usually aglow in early spring with hundreds of thousands of blooms. In the late 1800s, Arthur and Lizzie McLaughlin bought the hillside and surrounding ranchland, near the village of Volcano, from a Dutchman named Pete Denzer.

Denzer had planted daffodils to remind him of his native Holland, according to a written family history.

Lizzie McLaughlin prized the flowers and divided and replanted their bulbs each spring. Her children planted more flowers every year in her memory, and by the 1940s visitors began stopping by in March and April to admire the spectacle. Arthur and Lizzie McLaughlin’s great-grandchildren are the current owners. They plant thousands of bulbs annually.

Over time it’s become one of the more unlikely tourist destinations in the state.

In March and April, thousands of people make the winding trek into the Sierra Nevada foothills. They come by the carload and busload, from as far away as Reno and San Francisco.

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