Spring came early in Holland this month:
As I sit here, on a very dull day, aching to see buds on my tulips. I’m also counting down the days until I’m in Holland so I can get back to my favourite place on earth: the gardens of the Keukenhof.
However, I can’t complain, because I did get a spring fix recently in North Holland, as the Lentetuin (spring garden) returned from a hiatus.
I first visited this event about 10 years ago, and it’s one of the first spring displays in Holland each year. In those days, the sports hall was landscaped into big wide borders and heavily planted with forced bulbs in all colours and sizes. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, this is where the black hyacinth was initially spotted on a trip by my colleagues. So, you can see how it’s a very important part of the calendar year for spring bulbs.
However, there’s been a change up this year, and the displays are as creative as ever, and now built by a range of 17 very different florists from right across the country.
All the bulbs have been forced professionally, and there are millions of flowering bulbs used in the sports hall. 50,000 tulips alone, and 5,000 each of calla and lily stems.
Feast your eyes on a few of the displays in this gallery. They were super creative, and I loved it. With this slightly different design, visitors could become more interactive with the bulbs, seeing them up close, smelling them, perhaps even touching them (within reason…).
Interestingly, there were various “photo booths”, where you could have your photo taken with some gorgeous displays. This wasn’t just for the TikTok generation; traditional bulb farmers were also getting involved, and this was great to see.
A very popular local attraction, there was also a plaza where schools are brought in and shown how bulbs are produced, and shown the key varieties.
The organisers took the bold decision not to label any bulbs, which might be frustrating to a nosy person such as me, but actually this meant the displays were much cleaner, and allowed a clear road for innovation.
However, the eagled eyed could spot some of the more unique varieties, have a peek here…
Thank you to my hosts Lennaert and Sjim for helping to identify those! And indeed for getting me into the event. I’m fairly sure I was the only English visitor that day, it really is quite an unknown event, but I really do recommend it for that early spring fix!!
So, the biggest question, what happens to the bulbs afterwards? So, actually, on the Monday you can go along and claim some of the planted bulbs and cut flowers, for a price! It’s a shame I’d flown over this time…
Springtime comes early!