Keukenhof Gardens

 

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The 25th of April had a wonderful experience in store for me. For years I have been dreaming about seeing the tulips blooming in Holland and today was the day. I had no idea what an extraordinary treat it would be!

The Keukenhof website (www.keukenhof.nl) does not even begin to give it justice but it was absolutely spot-on when it claimed it is the most beautiful spring garden in the world as far as I can tell.  It is a lot larger than I imagined; covering about 79 acres!!!!

Because visiting this garden was at the top of my bucket list, I wanted to spend as much time as possible. Therefore, rather than bicycling through the countryside with the rest of my fellow bike tourists to the gardens and back, I opted to join Liz, Sharon & Patty from Reno who had plans on taking a taxi to the gardens and spending the entire day.  I am so glad I did. The bicyclists only got to spend a couple of hours in the garden, but we got to spend over 5 hours!  Yeah!

I must, however, provide a WARNING before you go any further.  As you have realized by now, I simply love flowers.  If you aren’t into looking at them, you may wish to pass on this post as it is absolutely CHUCK FULL of pictures of them!

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IMG_0641After entering the main entrance I decided to go off on my own, knowing I would want to see as much as possible and agreeing to meet back up with them at the pink flower pot for lunch halfway through our visit.

 

We were each given a map and guide of the gardens by these lovely young ladies dressed in period garb.

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I decided to traverse the park in a counter-clockwise fashion, hugging the outside edges until I made it back to the main entrance.

Off I went, with a plethora of blooms spread out as far as I could see before me.  This was going to be fun!

 

One of the first features I came to was a beautiful fountain…

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…behind the fountain, I found a pathway leading up a small hill which led me to a beautiful view of the bulb fields surrounding the gardens!

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On the way back down, I came across a hedge maze and a petting zoo for the children. Couldn’t resist these cute little piglets wiggling their tails as children fed them yummies!

Talk about yummy! These tulips look like lollipops –  good enough to eat!

 

 

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Next, I came upon a small gardening shed of sorts and discovered this wonderful display and how our well-being depends upon spending time in nature.  I wholeheartedly agree!

Just around the corner, I crossed a small canal to discover a beautiful windmill…

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This was followed by the Inspirational Delft Blue garden…

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The path continued on gently leading me toward the Beatrix Pavillion so I just wandered along enjoying its beauty.

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One part of it had old cars abandoned but lovingly repurposed with bulbs planted inside.  Clever idea!

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IMG_0730 At the end of the path, I found the Beatrix Pavillion, figuring it was some kind of gift shop or something, but boy-oh-boy was I ever wrong!

Instead, I discovered beautiful displays of orchids that were breathtaking.

 

 

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The Beatrix Pavillion was in the upper right-hand corner of the garden.  So far I had explored the right side of the garden so once I went outside once again, I continued on to explore the next section making my way to the upper left-hand corner of the garden where the Wilhelmina Pavillion is located.

Almost immediately I came across this bulb which I have never seen before.  What an interesting specimen!  Luckily the gardeners place placards in the beds listing the bulbs they have planted within.  Turns out this is a Fritillaria persica. It is a Middle Eastern species of flowering plant in the lily family Liliaceae, native to southern Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Israel. I have already learned something today!

The beds along this border just seemed to go on forever with tons of species! A bit of Keukenhof trivia: they plant over 7 MILLION bulbs each year!  Various growers in the region are designated a certain area in the garden to plant highlighting their specialties and varieties. Once the 8 weeks of blooming are over, all of the bulbs are dug up and fed to cattle as fodder! The next year they do it all over again!

The bulbs growing in the fields nearby are de-headed about halfway through their blooming period to allow the plants’ energy to go to the development of the bulb in the ground for good growth. In the late summer, they are also dug up and prepared for shipment around the world for planting in our individual gardens.

Although it’s difficult to decide on a “favorite,” I was particularly fond of this variety…

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I kept wandering along enjoying the views and the amazing colors, sculptures, and grounds in this beautiful park-like setting..

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Just before reaching the Wilhemina Pavillion I happened upon this beautiful lake with a popular feature of concrete pillars, resembling floating lily pads that curious visitors could hop along from one to another… how fun!

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Aw, there’s the Wilhemina pavilion that houses a shop, a cafe, and some toilets!  Perfect place to get a cafe latte and an almond cookie, take a rest and enjoy the view for a spell before continuing on.

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Refueled and rested I continued on heading toward the final corner of the garden… the views and displays continuing to delight!

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The Juliana Pavilion holds an exhibition explaining how Tulipmania came into being in Holland. Tulip mania was a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which contract prices for some bulbs of the recently introduced and fashionable tulip from Turkey reached extraordinarily high levels. Market speculators traded the flower’s bulbs for extraordinary sums of money, until, without warning, the market for them spectacularly collapsed in February 1637.

They also had every sort of tulip products on sale and there were some very interesting ones!

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By this time it was nearing lunch time so I headed toward the last corner of the garden, again enjoying the flower displays along the route.

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I met up with Liz, Sharon, and Patty as planned at the pink flower pot and we had a nice lunch together.

Since I had traversed the outer edges of the garden, after lunch I concentrated on the midsection of the garden. First I visited the historical garden which tells the story of the 400 years of tulip cultivation in Holland. One can see tulip varieties dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries as well as new varieties.

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Then I made my way to Oranj Nassau that houses beautiful displays of more flowers, and seemed to concentrate on flower arrangements extraordinaire.
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IMG_0892That was pretty incredible, wouldn’t you say?  Let’s head to the last, but not least, William-Alexander pavilion.

Along the way, as usual, was another wonderful stroll through more outside displays.

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The William-Alexander pavilion is a massive collection of about 6 giant glasshouses containing another amazing assortment of floral displays.

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I found the pictures shown below that were made with plants, pots and sticks particularly interesting as I left the pavilion.

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It was almost time to meet up with my friends back at the main entrance. So I meandered along another section of the garden I hadn’t explored yet as I worked my way back to the beginning.

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After 5 hours of exploring, 7 million bulbs and about 500 pictures, my camera let me take just two more pictures before it decided it was done and went dead on me.  Can ya blame it?

It was certainly a wonderful day in that garden and a memory I will long remember. The smells of the blossoms were so aromatic and of course, the colors and sights were absolutely outstanding! Visiting Keukenhof Gardens was certainly well worth it, and it far surpassed my wildest expectations.  If ever you are in Holland in the spring I highly recommend you take the time to visit; you won’t be disappointed. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing it as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you!

Attitude of Gratitude ~

I am oh-so-grateful for flowers! I’ve heard it said that “Flowers are the way God smiles at us” and boy-oh-boy was God ever smiling at me this fine April Day.  I am so happy I finally got to see the tulips in Holland.  What a blessing!

 

Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent, and fun-loving American 65-year young great-grandmother who loves to travel; often going solo!

8 thoughts on “Keukenhof Gardens”

  1. My what a beautiful place! You really captured it in your photos. I love tulips, but all of the flowers are gorgeous. Happy trails.
    Hugs,
    Sharon

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. Yes, isn’t it beautiful? I just updated the post to include a video of an old Victorian Calliope Organ I had forgotten to include. It’s pretty fun. Thanks for your quick response! I just published it less than 10 minutes ago! Hugs back at ya!

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    1. Thank you Lindsay! Looking forward to working on the new posts about our recent travels in Scotland too as soon as I finish writing about The Netherlands! We always have such great adventures together, don’t we Buddy?

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  2. Hi Claudia…….As usual, your pics were a feast for the eyes. Funny that those lucky cows get to eat all of those beautiful bulbs !

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