The Keukenhof Gardens#1
Tulips amidst a Sea of Muscari outside the Juliana Pavilion
The Keukenhof Gardens are described as “the most beautiful spring garden in the world.” I would have to agree after visiting them for the first time two weeks ago.
The gardens are located amongst the Dutch bulb fields, less than an hour away from Amsterdam. My sister and I took a train to Schiphol Airport, followed by a short bus journey. It is a good idea to buy a travel ticket that is valid for several days if you are visiting the region. A two day Amsterdam Region Travel Ticket cost just 26 euros and permitted transport on trains, metro, tram and bus lines within the region – great value for money.
The theme for 2017 was Dutch Design, and included gardens inspired by famous artists past and present, including Mondriaan and Rietveld. The gardens are HUGE, covering more than 32 hectares, filled with more than 7 million tulips, daffodils, hyacinths….
Sculptures are located throughout the gardens
There are a number of indoor pavilions – Oranje Nassau, Beatrix, Willem- Alexander, Juliana – filled with orchids, lilies, tulips…
I have so many photographs that I shall feature these indoor displays in next weeks post.
The outdoor gardens around the Juliana Pavilion (pictured above) were our first stop, followed by the Historical Gardens, where you can view tulips dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
Did you know that tulips came to Europe from Turkey in the 16th century? The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent adored them, and created stunning gardens in their honour. They arrived in Holland in the early 17th century where they initially cost a small fortune.
The Historical Gardens
Today there are more than 3,000 different registered varieties of cultivated tulips, including double, fringed, lily flowered, triumph, parrot…
Next, a series of paths took us through some gentle woodland planting, filled with daffodils, heuchera, forget-me-not and hellebore:
The Woodland Planting
Arriving in the Wilhelmina Gardens, we were greeted by a beautiful lake with a fountain.
The Wilhelmina Gardens
You can see from the photographs that the gardens were not crowded, and it was easy to stop and take photographs without causing any traffic jams!
Our appetites were growing as we entered the Willem Alexander Pavilion, full of spectacular floral displays (photographs next week) so we headed outside to a delightful picnic area, complete with rustic tables and straw bales for seating.
The Picnic Area
We enjoyed a delicious al fresco lunch, before heading back inside for more floral inspiration.
After viewing the windmill seen above, an hour long boat ride amongst the surrounding bulb fields was a welcome break for our feet and legs…
Sailing through the Bulb Fields
Our boat sailed lazily past a myriad of beautiful bulb fields, and I said “hello” to a number of Dutch ducks!
The floral colour combinations continued to amaze us as we passed numerous beds filled with yet more luscious blooms.
I felt I was in floral heaven!
Each colour combination seemed to surpass the other. I could not pick a favourite.
Nearing the end of the afternoon, we reached the individual show gardens, where I had a welcome seat on a tractor…
The Keukenhof Gardens more than lived up to their description as “the most beautiful spring garden in the world.”
Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.
She lives in Donegal, Ireland – an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/r5GCjaetgZk
Categories: International Gardens