Keukenhof Gardens in Holland
Each year over 7,000,000 bulbs are hand-planted to create the world's largest flower garden in the small town of Lisse (about 15 miles south of Amsterdam in the Netherlands). The mere mention of Keukenhof makes the hearts of gardeners (such as me) skip a beat.
Timing is everything when it comes to visiting the world's largest bulb garden because it is only open for 8 weeks in the Spring of each year. In 2016, it will be open from March 24th - May 16th. The peak bloom time for the spectacular display varies slightly based on the weather conditions such as temperature and amount of rain, but visiting in mid-April is usually the best bet.
Fortunately my husband indulges my love of gardening and agreed to plan our 2008 trip to Europe specifically around the blooming tulips. So we spent a glorious day in mid April perusing the gardens of Keukenhof. It is a day we won't soon forget and as luck would have it, we got blue skies. For any of you that have visited Amsterdam in the Spring, you know that those kind of days are few and far between.
I hope that you enjoy browsing our garden photos as much as we enjoyed taking them!
Keukenhof Garden History
In 1949, the mayor of Lisse along with some leading bulb exporters and flower growers created an open air flower exhibition on today's site of Keukenhof Park. Over the years, the size of the park, number and variety of bulbs, and the number of visitors has grown into the infamous garden that is loved by millions today.
Keukenhof literally means 'kitchen garden' and was so named because it was the herb garden outside the castle kitchen of Jacoba van Beieren. The herb garden along with a vast hunting area around that castle now comprise the modern Keukenhof Park grounds.
The Dutch ornamental bulb industry shows off its best bulbs during the annual park exhibit as well as in the indoor shows where they present their most beautiful cut flowers. Each year, 93 local growers and exporters supply Keukenhof with their 'cream of the crop' bulbs for planting within the garden. For a complete list of these suppliers, visit the official website.
Five of these suppliers have bulb sales points within the park where you can order Spring blooming flowers that will be mailed to you for planting in Autumn. They also sell the large Amaryllis bulbs, cut flowers, and summer bulbs that you can purchase and carry home with you. If you have a garden, what better way to increase its beauty than with tulips direct from the Netherlands!
Yay! Purple Star Award Winner
This lens was awarded a purple star by the powers that be at Squidoo. Thanks to the person that nominated it. Gardening is one of my favorite past times so visiting Keukenhof was a truly memorable experience and I'm glad that I got to share it with others.
Each year, nearly 1,000,000 people ranging from locals to presidents of foreign countries to tourists flock to Keukenhof to pay tribute to the best bulb garden in the world.
In 2009, Keukenhof is scheduled to be open from March 19th - May 21st. Getting to and from the park has been made easier with public buses running directly to the park from Schipol Airport (Amsterdam's main airport) and Lisse. In addition, many bus tour companies offer Keukenhof Garden tours from Amsterdam. There is also plenty of parking if you drive directly to the garden.
Handicapped access is excellent with paved walkways and accessible bathrooms and restaurants throughout the park. Baby changing facilities are also available. There are a number of restaurants throughout the park, but we honestly did not find the food all that appealing.
Finally, be sure to check out the gift shop, they have just about any souvenir you can think off including personalized shot glasses, beautiful postcards, keychain favor gifts, wall posters, dinner placemats, and much more. We bought a gorgeous wall calendar with beautiful flower photos.
My Tips - The park covers nearly 2 acres with many walking paths, garden rooms, and pavilions to peruse. We took one of those bus tours from Amsterdam which worked out great in terms of transportation and ease of getting in and out of the park. However, they allowed only 2 hours of actual time in the park. It was NOT nearly enough time to see everything so be sure to allow more time to relax and truly soak up the beauty of the park. Also, be sure to buy a map for your visit - the park is large and can be a bit confusing. And buy your souvenirs and gift baskets or bags of bulbs on your way out of the park so you don't have to tote them all over with you.
Keukenhof Pavilions & Shows
Four indoor pavilions stand on the grounds of Keukenhof Park - Oranje Nassau Pavilion, Beatrix Pavillion, Willem Alexander Pavilion, and Juliana. Throughout the park's eight week opening, the indoor exhibitions change weekly. Growers from across the Netherlands display their flowers in the exhibitions where they are competitively judged. The best of the best come out for these competitions where prizes are awarded for a wide range of categories such as best presentation or best flower quality.
During our visit we spent a good bit of time in the Willem Alexander Pavilion where tens of thousands of tulip blooms in every possible color and variety were on display. Daffodils, azaleas, hydrangea and other flowering bulbs and shrubs were also on display, but the tulips were the real show stoppers.
Apparently in May, the Willem Alexander Pavilion hosted the largest lily flower show in the world - over 30,000 lilies were displayed.
As you enter Keukenhof, you will not only be greeted by millions of blooms, but also by the manmade lake and meandering streams that cover a large portion of the park. The lake is home to many swans and ducks that float along without a care in the world. Children feed them from a nearby dock and a bountiful array of flowers surround them and the lake. The lake provided a stunning backdrop for our pictures.
Favorite Bulb Poll
What is your favorite flower bulb?
Buy Bulbs to Plant in Your Garden!
The Woodland Garden
With nearly 1 million visitors descending on Keukenhof within an 8 week period each year, the gardens can get very crowded - especially around the lake. So if you are looking to escape the crowds, head for the woodland garden area just Southeast of the picturesque windmill. There are countless paths meandering through the woods featuring blooming bulbs and flowering shrubs.
Climbing the nearby windmill yields great views of the park and the nearby tulip fields, but it can be quite crowded with long lines.
Sculptures & Art at Keukenhof
More than 50 artists have created 150 pieces of artwork to make the largest sculpture park in the Netherlands. These works of art blend in seamlessly with the blooming flowers throughout the park. Galerie Noordeinde carefully selected the sculptures and many of the artworks are on display in the recently renovated Juliana pavilion. Some of the photos below were taken from Flickr.
Keukenhof Garden Videos
Here are some great videos of Keukenhof gardens from YouTube.
Need A Gift For A Gardener?
Birthday - Mother's Day - Just Because
If you have someone in your life that loves gardening as much as I do, then you can't go wrong with a beautiful cookie bouquet like the one featured in the photo. Sugar cookies are decorated to look like tulips and then artfully arranged in a container to form a beautiful bouquet of flower cookies. And best of all, they taste as good as they look. There is nothing better than working in the garden, grabbing a cup of tea and a cookie, and kicking back to check out your handy work. Take it from a gardener, this gift WILL BE a hit!
Another gift option is a gardening gift basket filled with all kinds of goodies designed for a gardener. Small garden tools, seed packets, gardening gloves, and some snacks are usually included.
Garden Related Resources - Articles that I find interesting!
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- Flower Cookies
The perfect gift choice for a garden lover in your life. Choose tulip, daffodil, iris and other cut-out cookies decorated to look like her favorite flowers!
- Gardening Gift Basket
Sweet treats and some useful garden accessories such as gloves, small tools, and seed packets are just some of the things included in a great gardening gift basket.