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:

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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.IMG_6376

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…

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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.




  1. Ever since I read Dumas’ ‘The Black Tulip’ as a girl I have had a fascination for these flowers. I love them and I would absolutely love to do what you have done and visit the region. You prompt me to put the idea higher up my list of wishes. And your pictures are stunning. Thank you so much for this magnificent post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Brigid,
    Well… what a brilliant feast for the eyes. I can see why you said you had so many flower images… simply stunning. Thank you for such a pretty post!
    (And may I add here… I’m utterly loving your book. I have a read at night and don’t enjoy stopping to go to sleep. I just read about Amma. Would you believe I received my hug when she visited Melbourne in April. The venue was 15 minutes from my house! Anyway, just thought I’d give you the update….🙂)
    Have a great day 🙋🏻💐

    Liked by 1 person

      • She is quite amazing isn’t she Brigid!
        Yes, it sounded like a lovely tonic. All those beautiful healing flowers.
        I’ll be learning more in a couple hours from now….🙂🙋🏻

        Liked by 1 person

  3. All I can say is wow wow Brigid!! So incredible– each photo exquisite!! I would love to spend a day there– thanks for giving us a look. I think it’s the variety of color-plus all the other plantings to set off the tulips. You must have arrived at the peak of the blooming! I’m putting this on my Wish List of travels. thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Incredible photos of a truly breathtaking garden, Brigid. I’d probably have to win the lottery to get there in person, so I am grateful that I got to travel virtually with you. I echo every comment on this page (tho’ Osyth recently made me aware that “liking” them all to indicate same is annoying).

    I can’t help but think of my mother whenever I see tulip gardens. She planted literally hundreds of bulbs one year, sent from Holland by my grandmother when she visited there, and got not one single flower for all her back-breaking work. The squirrels ate them ALL – and my mother hated the entire species for it until the day she died.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”


      • Me too – I don’t believe I have ever seen her so disappointed – or angry! “Rats with fluffy tails!” was how she responded when anyone commented on the number of “cute” squirrels in our nabe.

        I’ve never traveled abroad – the timing/finances equation never worked out for me. I’d go in a heartbeat if I could work out the finances at this point in my life, regardless of timing! I hope you get back there.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “In floral heaven” … that was an appropriate way of describing it Brigid… Although I’d been there about 15 years ago, one does tend to forget just how incredibly stunning and magical it is. Those perfectly colored beds amidst green lawn, tall trees and yes, the muscari (I’d forgotten about the rivers of muscari) … Sooooooo gorgeous!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh thank you Brigid for linking this gorgeous post up to #MyGloriousGardens Linky party. This is such a feast for the eyes and, as I said previously, I must put this garden on my bucket List! I really appreciate your support. I will Tweet this post and pop it into my Facebook page. X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Brigid, wow. These are magnificent gardens. It looks like you had an amazing time with your sister, and in gardens too. How wonderful is that given your love of them? ❤ Thank you for the photos, they are so full of life.

    Sending you and your sister much love and blessings, Brigid. 🙂 Debbie

    ps – very interesting about tulips coming to Europe via Turkey!


  8. Oh I did enjoy your post Brigid. What a beautiful place to visit with a sister. We do have a pretty wonderful Dutch bulb nursery quite nearby the displays there are certainly worth a visit, though nothing like this. With our seasons being upside down to yours we will need to wait until September and October to visit them. Your photo’s are lovely and I love the one of you sitting on the red tractor (all tractors should be red I think- like all Ferrari’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Barbara. It was a really special trip. I managed to buy a few bulbs – peony, iris and gladioli but the tulips will need to wait a few months.
      My dad used to have a tractor and I loved driving it. I cannot remember the colour though😉


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