No Tulips without Rain, 12: Tulipmania in Keukenhof

July 21, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

         This river cruise was advertised as one to Belgium and Holland (sic) in Tulip Time.  Naturally, I anticipated that the itinerary would include some flower viewing.  I had no objection.  Desultory talks with my fellow passengers, however, revealed that their passion for tulips had been the motivation for most for booking the trip.  Several of them were so enamored of the excursion that they had made it repeatedly. > >       The tour guides had been even more agitated than their charges as they consulted the forecast.  They knew that the success or failure of the cruise depended on two factors that were beyond their control, namely the weather and the condition of the tulips.    >        In the days prior to our garden date, the guides issued reports that the tulips would be at the very apex of their beauty. > Their relief must have been immense as our buses left the Lelystad dock for Keukenhof Botanical Gardens under fair skies.        Our first stop was at a flower farm, Annemieke's Pluktuin (Picking Garden).  There we were conducted to tulip fields where each of us was allowed to pick enough flowers for a bouquet.  Even more interesting than the operation of the farm or the fields of rich, mixed colors were the horses.  There were Shetland ponies and a couple of Gypsy Vanners, a type of draft horse bred to pull the wagons of nomadic clans.  These amiable Vanners were family pets rather than working horses.        It seemed as if every vehicle in The  Netherlands was converging on Keukenhof.  The botanical gardens are open for only two months each year.  Seven million people visit Keukenhof annually, and most of them must have come on that sunny Sunday afternoon when we were there.  The plantings were astonishing in their extent and variety.  Before we went, I had wondered if three hours of gazing at tulips would be too many for me.  I learned that our tour group had, in fact, been allotted too few hours for the spectacle.         The images that I have appended to this message merely hint at the scope of Keukenhof’s appeal.  Fortune favored us just long enough to reach our bus before a drenching thunderstorm broke.  The rain was so heavy at times that we could see nothing but water streaming down the bus’ windows as we rode back to the ship.
 

Gypsy Vanner horses at Annemieke's tulip picking garden in Hillegom

A few of the flowers at Keukenhof Botanical Gardens

Tulips and Grape Hyacinths

Our custom bouquet of tulips 
 


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...


Subscribe
RSS
Archive
January February March April May June (3) July (1) August September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July August September October November December (1)
January (7) February (1) March (1) April May June (3) July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April (1) May (1) June (2) July August September October November December
January (5) February (4) March (4) April (2) May June July August September October November December