Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tulips & Hyacinth; Bulbs-O-Plenty

What an amazing day we experienced at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland this past weekend (I'm not sure when to say Holland or when to use The Netherlands, so I'm going to stick with Holland for now).  After we arrived home last Tuesday from Paris, we cleaned out the backpacks, washed all the laundry, and repacked for a weekend train trip from Heidelberg to Amsterdam.  Traveling by train has easily become a favorite mode of transportation for us:  it's simple and we all get to relax and enjoy the journey.

We opted for a charter bus exercision to take us from the Amsterdam to the Gardens about 45 minutes out of town.  It wasn't exactly a bus tour since it was there and back, but we had a host who liked to "spice things up" on the drive out and back.  As a result, we were to spend 6 hours at the flower gardens enjoying all 7 million blooms.  Later, John would admit he didn't have any flippin' idea how we were going to spend that much time in a flower garden - but time really did fly while we were there.

Hyacinth is an absolute favorite of mine - so incredibly fragrant!  And they were everywhere the eye could see.  Tulips of every color, shape, and size imaginable were in a glorious explosion of color.  There were paved and mulched walking paths as well as large sculpted metal art pieces placed between different flower beds.  Several ponds and little creeks trickling added a sense of intimacy, while the visual field was vast.  

We got a basic lesson in the export industry of tulips.  The massive fields of flowers serve two purposes - the export of cut flowers and the export of the bulb.  The flowers must be cut in order to make the bulb stronger.  The bulbs must be dug up in order for the "mother" bulb to be sold.  The small bulbs that develop from this mommy bulb are detached and replanted and the cycle begins again.  The cut flowers are taken to an auction space adjacent to the airport, which means they are bought, shipped, and "on the streets of New York the same afternoon."

I am so glad we went.  Keukenhof is only open from about mid-March to mid-May and I would have been sad to miss it this year.  At the same time, I'm really going to enjoy a break from traveling and get back to our routine here in Heidelberg.  I think I'll go to the market today and buy some flowers for our table as a sunny reminder of our trip.  In the meantime, I've added a slideshow on the sidebar of this blog with pictures I took of the beautiful blooms and greenspace at Keukenhof.

Die Blumen are where it's at.


  1. For being a new blogger, you sure have figured out all kinds of neat features. I need lessons from you.

    Beautiful pictures!

  2. So pretty! How long was the train ride from Heidelberg to Amsterdam? I can't imagine living in Europe with so much diversity within relatively a close distance.