Thursday, 3 May 2012

Let yourself be seduced!

'After the dark and dreary winter, everyone yearns for the spring. Slowly but surely, the cold, grey days make way for the sun and warmer weather. Suddenly, the first tulips begin to emerge...The world comes back to life and takes on new colour. It is time for spring, time to fall in love!...' Keukenhof brochure for 2012.
lilac and black tulips 
(This photo is courtesy of www.123RF images and is the only photo not taken by myself. The black tulips I saw were too blown to look as good as these above!)
Seduction is the garden trend for 2012 at Keukenhof. In the 7 inspiration gardens trendy materials, great gadgets and the latest plant varieties are set to SEDUCE!

The old windmill at the Keukenhof park.
Only a few blooms at the Keukenhof park in Holland? Absolutely not! I saw thousands of stunning flowers, and I'd love to share some of them with you. Of course, you'd have to go at this time of the year to truly appreciate them up close and in person. The beautiful spring park displays are available to view from the very end of March through to the middle of May, though nature plays her part over when is the OPTIMUM time to visit. (If you visit, I hope you're a better photographer than I am, though, since I didn't remember to photograph the names of the varieties!)

The Keukenhof park in Lisse, Holland, is the home for millions of spring bulbs. The park itself is a beautiful setting, and not all completely flat which may come as a surprise to some visitors-though the mere hints of inclines could never be classed as hilly! The floral displays are set around some ancient trees, bushes, and perennial ground plantings.
Trickling streams at Keukenhof break up the flat terrain.

Adorning the walkways are the most incredible displays of every bulb imaginable. Keukenhof gets its name from 'kitchen garden' but it is bursting with tulips, crocus, hyacinths... You name it-if it's a bulb, it's most likely on show at Keukenhof. Especially as the Netherlands supply millions of bulbs every year to the world at large.

red tulips and yellow fritillaria
Or perhaps your preference is fritillaria, anemones, daffodils and narcissi? (No doubt I've forgotten to mention some other genus and species that are also to be seen around the park) In the display on the left the tulips were prettily blown in the strong winds while I was there, but the tall and stately yellow fritillaria were spectacular, dotted amongst other bulbs in some of the beds.

purple anemones
Or maybe your taste tends more towards the purple hues?  That wouldn't be a problem since there's a plethora of violets, and deep purples, and palest lilacs, and everything imaginable in between. And that's not only in the anemones. There are purple tulips, crocus and hyacinths. You'll find the deepest purple tulips, and even the truly black ones, like those in the top photo.

delicate white and the palest lilac muscari

What about this color, and shape, of muscari (grape hyacinth)? At lowest levels of the displays there's a wealth of these hardy little gems to be found in all sorts of shades. 

peach trumpeted tulips and yellow gerberas

Who wouldn't love to see these narcissi and daffodils? The variety on the left are spectacular with their peach colored trumpets and white petals, nodding and bobbing around in amongst the pure white varieties and yellow gerberas, looking superior alongside their more ordinary cousins.

 Or what about this other little one.  
 Are you replete yet?

I photographed at least ONE name!

I wasn't, hadn't seen nearly enough outside before the cloud-bursting showers drove me into the inside displays. In the pavilions were numerous varieties of freesias, alstroemeria, gerbera, and eye-popping orchids, bromeliads, lillies... staggeringly arranged with an equally breathtaking scent.

I'd love my garden to look like the one below, but I must dream, since my Aberdeenshire plantings don't look anything like this!

The Orchid show in the Queen Beatrix pavilion was stunning, so well displayed, and so sensorily appealing.
Beatrix pavilion orchid display

Every size, color, shape seemd to be around the next corner. In the bright, airy space orchids and bromeliads dazzled the eyes from high ceiling to floor levels, the containers versatile and stylish. I could wax lyrical about the indoor displays alone, but not on this particular blog. I'm going to have to savor most of my photographs at home, too, since I took so many, and choosing only a few to show you today was incredibly difficult!

Did I have any favorites at Keukenhof? Not really, but some floral arrangements are much more eye-catching than others. The green striped tulips below-a slightly frilly variety- to me are just incredible. They were matched up with colors I wouldn't have thought would be effective BUT they were! The bank of tulips behind were of a deep salmon pink and green stripe, even more frilly edged, but equally impressive.

Green striped frilly tulips

The last ones...

No, it's not these gorgeous, and again frilly and stripey ones.

Or these purple and lilac hyacinths and tall reddish-orange tulips.

Or this amassed abundance of tulips and hyacinths.

It's not all flora at Keukenhof. How about this for the serene. The swans swim majestically, preening themselves at leisure, the rider and horse perhaps calling them to be still, since they draw some of the attention of the crowds away from him?

Last, but not least, was the unusual...

Please don't ask me what species they are. Sorry, I haven't a clue... but they were so unexpected I just had to take a photo of them for the dog lovers amongst us.

I totally loved my visit to Keukenhof, but that wasn't all I saw in Holland last week.  

Join me soon for my visit to the Floriade World Horticultural Expo at Venlo! Another brilliant event. I'll give you plenty of warning but it will be in the next few days...

Thank you for visiting today and sharing my experience of Keukenhof. 



  1. I think the tall dog is a Deerhound? I only know it looks like a hairy greyhound - since I own a greyhound. You have great taste Nancy to have your eye taken by them! :)
    What a wonderful visit you have. The tulips are breathtaking! I'd love to see them myself one day...
    Thanks for the armchair travel :)

  2. What a refreshing post, Nancy. I absolutely love the black tulips! And just by that pic, I'd say your dogs are Afghans.

  3. Thank you, Calisa. I thought maybe Irish Wolfhounds but they are so fluffy!


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