Keukenhof gardens is one of the world’s largest gardens dedicated to flowers, and certainly the only one to be devoted exclusively to bulbs. 32 hectares of garden graced with magnificent trees and a meandering stream light up with all the colours of the rainbow and more as over 7 million flowering bulbs vie with each other for attention each spring.
The bulbs are provided and planted by flower bulb growers, and it’s considered as an enormous honour to be one of those chosen to show off their palette of varieties. The team from Farmer Gracy have been among these elites for generations now, and we’re still carrying on the proud family tradition.
Of course, we’d never give up our place at Keukenhof – and if we did, we’d struggle to get it back. The waiting list of hopefuls bide their time for 10 years or more before getting a chance to show off their growing skills and gorgeous blooms!
Showcasing new varieties and gardening inspirations
Preparing for our proudest moment when our bulbs bloom at Keukenhof starts long before the autumn planting season. We like to show off something new and different every year. After all, new cultivars are only as good as they look in the garden, and people want to see how plants grow and how they look before trying something new.
Apart from deciding which cultivars will be part of the display, we also need to decide on design. Keukenhof gardens inspires gardeners with design ideas and combos that they can try in their own gardens at home – although they admittedly won’t have 32 hectares to play with! As you can imagine, choosing floral design ideas involves quite a lot of debate, and we change our minds several times before settling on the perfect plan.
A beautiful garden with a fascinating history
The incredible gardens at Keukenhof were a hunting ground for the wealthy in the 15th century. Later on, it became a place for growing herbs. The word ‘Keuken’ means ‘kitchen’ and the name has stuck, even though it’s anything but a kitchen garden these days! During the 17th century, the gardens formed part of the grounds surrounding Keukenhof Castle. It still stands today and is a tourist attraction in its own right.
During the 19th century, master-gardeners and landscape architects got to work turning the gardens into a unified landscape, and the basic framework of the garden has remained unchanged ever since. As you can imagine, just maintaining a garden of such size was quite a challenge, but in 1949, the mayor of Lisse had a brilliant idea: why not turn Keukenhof into a paradise of flowers? Dutch growers are keen to show off their flower varieties, and they like competing with each other to make the most colourful and beautiful flower gardens. Why not bring them all together in Keukenhof? The rest, as they say, is history.
Inspiration that lasts a lifetime
Every year, tourists flock to Keukenhof between mid-March and May to see the incredible displays of flowering plants. To see the biggest variety of tulips in bloom, mid-April is usually the best time to visit. You may be sure you’ll see some of our finest flower bulb varieties there, and you’ll get enough inspiration to last a lifetime as you begin to plan how you’ll turn your spring garden into a little Keukenhof next spring.
Visit Keukenhof's website: http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/