THE GARDEN OF EUROPE.
If you are in Holland in spring, end of March – mid-May, there is one place you should definitely visit. Keukenhof ( the first syllable is pronounced ker-, without the “r” sound), literally meaning “kitchen garden”, appeared in the 15th century as a hunting place. Since it also proved to be a great location for cultivating plants, it gradually turned into the greatest flower garden in Europe, with more than 7,000,000 plants going into bloom annually. One can reach it by bus from Haarlem and Leiden Centraal, and from Schiphol airport. If you are lucky, you may see endless fields covered with flowers, tulips naturally predominant among them. There are ponds, trees, shaded valleys, flowerbeds and tubs. The landscaping is amazing. There are also some playgrounds, and a field where one can watch falconers with their charges at work. If by the time you come to visit the flowers are gone and the fields almost bare, you can still see a lot in the carefully maintained patches of land, as well as in the hothouses and exhibitions. Tulips in all the colors of the rainbow, all around the place, one sort of expects to find in Holland. We have also seen the most astonishing arrangements of lilies. Not only do they come in more colors than we thought possible, the individual blooms are about as big as an adult person’s head! The thought and the care that go into maintaining such a place are very impressive. Looking at the flower displays, one is also struck by the fantasy, the imagination of the people who work there, making Keukenhof a place one would wish to visit again and again. ©gretag2012