Tuesday, May 12, 2015

At the Keukenhof Gardens

We left Groningen shortly after 9 with our bags stowed, and Kate in the front seat watching the GPS. It took about two hours before we turned into the parking lot at the Keukenhof. The parking attendants were efficiently packing in the cars, and it was clear that the visitors were coming en masse. The bus lot had at least twenty or so coaches. We were a little worried because it seemed late in the season for tulips.  But the garden was open until May 17, and there were a lot of visitors, so we were hopeful.

We didn't need to worry. It is true that it was on the late side, but the Keukenhof planters know what they are doing. The practice "lasagne" style planting, which basically means that they plant bulbs at three different depths according to when they bloom. The result is continuous blooms for weeks. 

It was interesting to compare these gardens with the Japanese garden we had visited in France. A similar effect resulted from banking swaths of flowers to paint masses of color using thousands of individual flowers. 

One section of the garden is planted in a more  traditional style with pruned shrubs and cascading fountains reminding us that tulips have been grown in the Netherlands for four hundred years since they were first brought from Turkey. 

The vast fields that lie around the gardens where tulips bloom in multicolored stripes were largely bare. This was the part that we were too late too see. But he rest of the gardens were so beautiful that we left satisfied and pleased. 

We headed to Amsterdam where we dropped our bags at our apartment and returned the rental car. Then we walked along until we found a restaurant for dinner.  We sat at a window with the Rijksmuseum on one side and the Concertgebouw on the other.  

After dinner Kate fought a train to Groningen and we walked back to our apartment. 

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