Romancing the tulip in the gardens at Keukenhof
The show gardens of Keukenhof open March 22nd, 2018 and close again on May 13th. That’s barely eight weeks… but what an eight-week slot. Each year the gardens receive well over 1 million visitors in that short period of time. There can be few tourist attractions where visitor numbers are that high in just under two months.
Keukenhof was not always a show garden. In the 15th century, the area was still a piece of untouched nature, used only for hunting and to gather herbs for the castle’s kitchen, which is where the name Keukenhof originally comes from. In 1857, during the Romantic Period, the current English landscape garden was created. In 1949 it was chosen as the location for a showcase for the bulb-growing industry.
Every year the 7 million bulbs are planted according to a theme. In 2018 the theme is Romance in Flowers. Flowers and romance have gone hand-in-hand for generations so it is an ideal theme. Also, the gardens were originally landscaped in the Middle of the Romantic period. As usual, there will be a floral mosaic on the theme using 50,000 bulbs planted in two layers to extend the flowering season.
I have made several visits to Keukenhof and I never tire of the displays. It’s not only tulips but narcissi and other spring flowering bulbs as well. The displays change each year so you can visit and never see the same things twice.
Keukenhof is set against a backdrop of the Bollenstreek or bulbfields district. Fields of eye-searing colour stripes stretch into the distance. These are the spring flowering bulbs of the bulb growers and industry that ensures that the iconic tulip will forever be associated with Holland despite originating in Turkey.
Here then are some photographs to whet your appetite.
Lisse, the town close to Keukenhof, is easily reached from Amsterdam by car or train. Amsterdam itself is well served by numerous airlines and and is just a short drive from several ferryports.