Home vacation 2011: Keukenhof

This year my mom came to visit, her first trip to Europe. Somehow none of our guests so far came to see the tulips. It was high season and beautiful weather. Aside from the bus ride (which was another Dutch social experiment, where they take about 150 senior citizens and a couple of college students, lock them in an airtight vehicle designed to carry a maximum of 120 people, and then slowly heat it to 50°C while alternating standing in traffic and shaking vigorously), it was a perfect day. The tulip varieites have names like Angelique and Fire of Love, but to me there are no great factoids like I can give you for bugs and wildflowers. So, by and large, these photos will be presented without additional text.

tulips and Fritillaria imperialis

Okay, so the first picture is an exception. It's also not all tulips - the tall plant in the middle is Fritillaria imperialis or Crown Imperial, native to Afghanistan and the Himalayan foothills.

green tulip green and pink tulips
fringed bud fringed red tulip
mom in the garden

Mom in the tulip gardens.

orange and pink tulips rusty orange tulips
red parrot tulip fire of love - note the varigated leaves
assembling the Van Gogh

They were gearing up for Easter weekend, which would be marked by giant reproductions of Van Gogh paintings in flower petals. Here they're assembling a section of painting from buckets of colored flowers.

Van Gogh sections

Assembling the sections to make the whole. Try to see what I see. We're so lucky we're still alive to see this beautiful world. Look at the sky. It's not dark and black and without character. The black is in fact deep blue. And over there! Lights are blue. And blue in through the blueness, and the blackness, the winds swirling through the air... and then shining. Burning, bursting through! The stars, can you see how they roll their light? Everywhere we look, complex magic of nature blazes before our eyes. - Vincent van Gogh, describing the night sky to The Doctor.

canalscape tulip fields
pink tulip pink and white tulips
Ace in flower car

Ace and a good use for a used car.


They were having an orchid show in the tulip garden.

pink orchid green orchids
mom and bromelid

Mom liked the bromelids.

buds swan
swan purple-white tulips
Gunnera manicata

It took me a while to figure out what this thing is, but it was labeled in the Hortus. Turns out it's a giant rhubarb, Gunnera manicata. The internet seems to be uncertain as to its edibility - some sites clearly say that it is not edible, while others give recipes.

orange tulip and white hyacinths yellow tulip and pink hyacinths
red parrot tulip red tulips
historical garden

A small section of the park is the historical garden. This shows a knotwork garden, popular in the 16th century. A few plots over were small rows of examples of tulip varities which were part of the tulip mania in the 17th century. In this time, it is said that rare varieties would sell for 10 years' salary. The bubble was further driven by the observation that some of the most beautiful tulips seemed to reproduce less and less over time - it was later learned that the unusual colors were the result of a virus infecting the plants, causing them to weaken. That said, tulip mania may be a historical fabrication as much as fact. Most of our data on pricing comes from pamphlets condemning speculation in the bubble, and may well have both sought the most egregious examples and exaggurated the truth. In any case, the tulips in question were in neat and well-spaced rows, which did not make for good photos.

red parrot tulip orange tulips
windmill red tulips
Fritillaria meleagris

There are even a few wildflowers in the Keukenhof, including these ferns and Fritillaria meleagris.

pink and white tulips with some other plant black tulip bud
green parrot tulip

I was expecting an expanse of tulips, but I was surprised at the variety of daffodils.

daffodil daffodil
daffodil daffodil
daffodil daffodil

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