The Enchantress of Holland
The Amsterdam city of Netherlands, in North Europe, is commonly know for its beautiful canals, legalized red streets and Cannabis coffee shops selling Cannabis-containing brownies and cookies legally. Apart from these stuffs, tourists flock in millions to this biggest city of Netherlands during spring, which is between March and May, to see the world’s largest and fascinating Keukenhof Tulip gardens. This 80 – Acre Park is situated just outside the town of Lisse, south of Haarlem.
Tulip or Tulipa is a genus of about 150 species of bulbous flowering plants in the family Liliaceae. They were originally found in abundance in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Hindu Kush mountain ranges. They are believed to be introduced into West Europe by the Ottoman Empire of Turkey in the 17th century.
The tulip bulbs are planted in late summer, 10 to 20 cm deep in the soil. The tulip plants grow tall, upright from 10 to 70 centimeters in length, even during very snowy winters. They typically have 2 to 6 leaves. The stems have no leaves; usually only one flower per stem. The colourful cup shaped flowers have three petals and three sepals, called ‘tepals’ because they are identical.
The Tulips of Keukenhof are given catchy names such as ‘The Peeping Tom’, ‘The Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Black Parrot ’.
Years ago, Keukenhof was the kitchen garden of a vast estate belonging to the Countess of Bavaria. The name Keukenhof, which in Dutch translates to kitchen garden.
Today, the Keukenhof Gardens are not only known for their spectacular display of different coloured Tulips but also for paintings, sculptors and photo exhibitions. The park is landscaped with beds of Tulips, flowering trees, a duck pond and a wind mill. Various types and colours of tulip bulbs are grown along shaped paths and designs. Other than these colourful beds of tulips, daffodils, crocuses and other flowering plants are also grown. The bulbs are planted by approximately 30 gardeners starting from the end of September every year.
You can also buy Tulip bulbs from here. Also, souvenirs associated with Holland and Keukenhof like mugs, typical Holland shoes, the Holland windmills in glass and wood, clothes, pictures and post cards are on sale here.
Each year, the Garden receives its million guests with surprising and entertaining themes. In the year 2008, the theme was China Olympics. A section of the Garden was dedicated to China, as the majority of its visitors so far are the Chinese, with Chinese dragons and China- style gate!
This year 2009, marks the 60th anniversary of the Garden. It also coincides with the 400 years of the arrival of the Dutch in America; they founded the New Amsterdam city, which is now renamed as the New York City. Hence the theme is ‘USA, New Amsterdam: New York, 400’; a spectacular flower mosaic of the Statue of Liberty, using more than 25,000 bulbs has been created; also American themed routes and American style garden can be seen. You can also witness the biggest lily show, flower parade and Orchid weekends on specified dates this year. Thus Holland reconnects with USA and New Amsterdam with its beautiful tulips at Keukenhof.
The theme for 2010 is ‘With Love from Russia’.
INDIA AND TULIPS
In the year 2005, a tulip in the Kuekenhof Gardens was named after the Bollywood actress and former Miss World 1994, Aishwarya Rai.
This year in March, one of the world’s largest Tulip Gardens ‘Siraj Bagh’ in the Kashmir Valley of India, overlooking the Dal Lake had about 60 varieties of different coloured Tulips. It attracted thousands of tourists in the otherwise troubled valley.
BOLLYWOOD AND KEUKENHOF :
Bollywood has captured and portrayed the beauty of the Kuekenhof Tulips even in the late 70s through its films and songs. In the film ‘Silsila’, featuring Bollywood’s ‘angry young man’ Amitabh Bachchan and the evergreen South Indian beauty Rekha, the super hit song ‘Dekha Ek Kwaab’ was shot at the Keukenhof gardens. Also, the film ‘Hello Brother’ featuring Salman Khan and Rani Mukherji has its song ‘Teri Chunariya’ shot amidst the Keukenhof Tulips.
Each year millions of tourists flock to this ‘paradise’ to witness these enchanting beds of different colored tulips; their beauty fills our hearts with happiness and eagerness alike, to see how the garden prepares to present itself before us the next year!
tulip bed along side the duck pond