Everything Is In Bloom at Keukenhof

By Donna Dawson, Master Gardener
5/5/2012 9:45:24 AM

I have just come back from a delightful tour of Holland. Filled with gardens of all sorts but I still think one of my favourites has to be Keukenhof. To me Keukenhof is spring eternal...even if it only lasts but a short two months. That is right. This glorious display of bulbs is only open until May 20, 2012. It is hard to imagine what seven million bulbs can look like...of course they are uniquely planted so that they bloom at different times and are planted in different levels, too, so that the beds are stuffed full of these incredible beauties. Hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, minor bulbs and more...a feast for the eyes.

The park and the indoor exhibitions are in themselves examples of landscape art and horticultural art. But Keukenhof has also built up a tradition in visual arts, with artists of international renown exhibiting their work at the park.

This year there are 16 indoor exhibitions. Some are temporary, while others can be seen for the full duration of the season. Visitors will be immersed in the world of flowers in the indoor exhibition halls. There they get to feast their eyes on the extensive range and great beauty of the flowers cultivated in the Netherlands, witnessing the amazingly skillful achievements of Dutch plant breeders. Participating in indoor exhibitions is a great opportunity for plant breeders to show their products to a worldwide audience, and they are in no short supply of keen participants.

The lily exhibit, which can be viewed until May 20 in the Willem-Alexander Pavilion, is set to become a sensationally lavish showpiece. It includes over 30,000 lilies in three hundred different varieties. Another crowd-pulling event is the all-season orchid exhibition in the Beatrix Pavilion, where orchids as well as anthurium and bromelia can be admired. This exhibition, with its astonishingly profuse array of colours, should not be missed. The seven inspirational gardens are another important feature of Keukenhof. They are laid out for garden lovers all over the world to get inspiration from. Examples of the numerous uses of flowering bulbs are shown here. The seven gardens differ in size and each has their own unique character and theme.

I also liked the idea of these little boats that they have that take you in the canals around the bulb fields...a close encounter with thousands more bulbs in flower. You can find those by the wind mill which also gives you a fantastic view of the bulb fields.

Of course, after you have visited the gardens there are plenty of places to eat and lots of souvenirs to buy.

If you can't get to Keukenhof this year you can buy a brand new book called KEUKENHOF VAN KEUKENDUIN TOT LENTETUIN, The History of the Keukenhof by Maarten Timmer and Arie Swarswaard. This book describes the long and interesting history of this show garden. Every possible aspect of its colourful history is described, giving you a balanced, complete and most interesting account. Many original illustrations and documents are included in this unique story, printed in full colour.

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