Thursday, May 24, 2007

Amsterdam II - Tulips

When I think of Holland, two images come to mind – fields of crimson and buttercup tulips and Delft blue and white windmills. Don’t ask me why.

Traditionally, the first week of May is the perfect time for viewing ‘late’ tulips and bicycling along the Bloemen Route (flower route) between Haarlem and Lieden. However, as you’ll recall from my April adventures in Scotland, it seems spring came earlier setting temperature records through out Europe. As a result, the peak of the tulips (both in gardens and the fields) was around 10 April.

Thankfully, in Lisse (the heart of tulip country), the horticulturists have planted over 17-acres in the lovely Keukenhof Gardens to ensure that at least a few blooms persevere the eight week season.

On a very windy and ominous morning, I ventured out to see if any blooms remained…

Tulips were originally imported from Turkey in 1559. Over the following 70 years, their popularity and variety gained so much momentum that "Tulip Mania" swept the Netherlands in the 1630s. The rarest bulbs were auctioned for the equivalent of €4000 in today's money! Imagine the tech bubble of the late-1990s, only with flowers. Eventually, the bubble burst, and with it the fortunes of vast sways of the population.

Often the most outlandish shapes and variegated colors are the work of viruses.

I have never seen petals quite as curly as this (with the exception of another specimen called "Pink Panther").

Enough to make even the prettiest swan a wee bit jealous.

My favorite. I absolutely adore the soft pale 'blue' of these tulips. It reminds me of sterling roses... also a favorite.

There are, as ever, more images than space. But, I hope that gives you a flavor of the beauty and variety on show. Given that this is the closing weekend of the Chelsea flower show in London, I reckon these tulips could easily challenge any of the specimen plants on show.

Next up... some quirky gables and the likes from Amsterdam.


Anonymous said...

Mel, these are beautiful!!! What a time you are having making memories and canvas of a wonderful part of your life!

Your Blue Pansies are with me on my office wall. I enjoy them everyday and think of you often.

Thank you for these. Magda C

Anonymous said...

Hi Melinda: Those pictures of the tulips are absolutely beautiful. I had no idea you had such a marvelous eye for capturing nature on "film". You have a wonderful talent - I can see why you want to pursue it. Take and keep up the great photos!! Aunt Nancy (5/28/07)

mousenurse said...

The flowers are beautiful you have such a wonderful eye for the beauty of nature and how to display it. Wish I could see the floweres myself but your photos make you feel like you should be able to smell and touch them. Mom