Ever seen 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths all in bloom? NO?
Nor have I.
But it was probably 5 million 4 thousand, 2 hundred and 73 tulips, daffodils and hyacinths…plus a couple thousand orchids. Even though spring was extremely late here in HOLLAND, our visit to the KEUKENHOF was in one word spectacular!!
Mothers day in Canada, Liberty Day in Holland saw my colleague Tracey and I taking an early bus to the Keukenhof gardens just outside Amsterdam to take in the annual spring splendor.
The Keukenhof opens every spring for 2 months ( between the end of March to the end of May)
Keukenhof is dutch for Kitchen Garden.. it gets its name as the location was originally the castle’s( Slot Telylingen) kitchen herb garden. Baron and Baroness van Palland originally invited garden architects JD and LP Zocher to lay out the castles gardens. They had also designed Amsterdam’s Vondelpark…just 5 minutes from my apartment…a huge city park. Keukenhof was designed in the English landscape style.
The current public gardens were established by the Major of Lisse in 1949. Today the 32 hectares of garden are planted every year by leading bulb growers and suppliers ( 86 of them in fact) They come from surrounding area, which of course is the key bulb growing district of the Netherlands –Lisse. Every weekend different flower exhibitions are featured in the 3 major pavilions. It is a clever commercial for a significant dutch business.
However, it is clear that the TULIP reigns supreme in Keukenhof and continues to be the archetypal dutch flower. The first tulips were shipped to Vienna in 1554 from the Ottoman empire. In 1593 cultivation started in earnest and the dutch found that the plants tolerated the harsher conditions of the low countries. The tulip quickly became a coveted luxury item. It takes 7-12 years to grow a tulip bulb from seed. By 1636, the tulip bulb became the fourth leading dutch export after genever ( dutch gin) , herring and cheese. Prices skyrocketed and speculation on tulip futures was rife. Tulip mania reached its peak in 1636-7 and then the market collapsed in February 1637.
Today of course dutch bulbs continue to be exported across the globe. I saw some of the most amazing colors and varieties while at Keukenhof and hope to bring some home to plant in my cottage garden.
The orchid exhibition we were lucky enough to see was incredibly creative and beautiful as you will see from these pictures.
For 64 years over 52 million visitors have taken in these amazing gardens and exhibitions. Luckily while we saw millions of flowers, our early start ensured we were not surrounded by millions of people.. 4 hours later however, the crowds had followed us and we left having feasted our eyes on the rows and rows of coloured flowers.
If you are in Holland in the spring do not miss this garden!!!