It has long been an ambition to visit the tulip fields of Holland and finally I am able to tick this off my ‘bucket list’. Flying into Amsterdam airport the fields were spread out beneath us, great strips of colour giving an enticing view across the flat landscape, laced with waterways.
Keukenhof garden should be listed as the eighth wonder of the world with its seemingly endless dramatic planting. With its roots in the 15th Century, Keukenhof was laid out as a landscape garden in 1857. In 1949 some 20 Dutch bulb exporters came up with a plan to use the garden as a means to exhibit their bulbs, and the modern day Keukenhof was born.
Today millions of visitors flood through the gates from late March to May, admiring the 7 million bulbs that are planted each year to showcase what Holland has to offer.
MIXED BULB PLANTING
Not only beds of tulips, but drifts of narcissi, hyacinth and muscari feature, with several beds planted with delightful bulb mixtures providing endless layers of colour. These were the beds that I particularly liked, the imaginative planting was an absolute delight and one that I would be keen to implement at home. At Keukenhof, the planting is ‘lasagne’ style, in layers, ensuring a succession of colour throughout the short visitor season.
TOURING THE BULB FIELDS
An evening drive around the bulb fields brought a new discovery – not only fields of tulips but of hyacinths too, the intoxicating scent drifting across the evening air.
HORTUS BULBORUM IN LIMMEN – A LIVING MUSEUM
The next day we drove north to Limmen, to visit Hortus Bulborum – a ‘living museum’ of bulbs, particularly the tulip. This remarkable place is quite understated and yet host to countless garden press, photographers and anyone interested in the extraordinary history of the tulip. Neatly labelled groups of tulips are planted in rows according to age and type. I quite literally could have spent a couple of days here, reading each label to discover the year the bulb first flowered and the history behind tulip varieties.
The only disappointing thing about our visit was the weather and the need for layers of thermals and Brora cashmere. Hoping for warmer weather next year – a return visit is a must!