Flowers for Mother’s Day!

11 May

Happy Mother’s Day, y’all! I hope everyone had a great day yesterday, whether you were the mom, the one celebrating your mom or just celebrating to celebrate! We had a terrific day- John can really outdo himself sometimes. I think he knew I’d have a bit of a tough time being away from my mom, so he wanted to be sure we were somewhere memorable and beautiful and surrounded by lots of people. And that he did- it was a perfect weekend. So perfect, in fact, that I’m going to split it into two blog posts so we’re not here all day into tomorrow! Ha!

Keeping It Real: Before we get started, as I sit here doing our laundry from the weekend, I thought this a good time to post. As crazy as it sounds, I’m kinda liking hanging our laundry up to dry rather than just tossing it into a dryer! Call me weird, but there’s just something about this menial task that makes me feel so retro or European or Holly Homemaker or something?? Our apartment has a washer, but the dryer is in the basement of the building and cost a euro for like a 2 minute cycle, so unless it’s necessary, we’re just air drying 🙂

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OK, so I’m going to start with the flowers for Part 1 of the weekend posts- because who doesn’t like to start their week with flowers?! All Things Amsterdam will come tomorrow.

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So, Keukenhof translates into ‘Kitchen Garden’ and that’s because it sits on what was once the garden and hunting grounds for the nearby Teylingen Castle, about 45 minutes southwest of Amsterdam in a small town called Lisse, Holland. In 1857, two landscape architects were hired to redesign the gardens into an English style, which still forms the base of the Keukenhof today. In 1949, a group of 20 flower bulb exporters came up with a plan to use the estate for a permanent exhibition of spring-flowering bulbs, signaling the birth of the spring park.The idea was to present a place where growers from all over Europe could show off their hybrids – and to help the Dutch export industry as the Netherlands is the world’s largest exporter of flowers. It opened its gates to the public in 1950 and has grown to over 7 million flower bulbs covering nearly 80 acres.

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There are lots of different gardens within the Keukenhof. There’s the original English-style with its pristine rows, paths and meticulous organization. There’s the historical gardens surrounded by walls showcasing the oldest and rarest of the flowers. There are nature gardens that combine shrubs and perennials with the bulbs and water features. There are Japanese gardens that mix in elements of texture and zen. And then there are buildings scattered throughout that house competitions and special exhibits.

Walking the English Gardens...

Walking the English Gardens…

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Something we found so interesting is that the Keukenhof is only open for 8 weeks a year- from mid-March through mid-May- during the blooming season. What a momentous amount of work- and surely, money- that goes into something that can only be appreciated for such a short period of time! There are 100 carefully selected bulb suppliers who use this bloom season to showcase their most prized beauties each year. The lead Garden Designer consults with each exhibitor to create a special display for his contributions, based on the colors, heights and flowering times of the bulbs they will be submitting. Then the exhibitors make sure that their bulbs are delivered to the park by autumn for planting. That’s right, every single year over 7 million individual bulbs are planted into the designs we see. WOW.

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A little slice of home :)

A little slice of home 🙂

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I don’t know about y’all, but when I think of the tulips in Holland, I picture field-after-field of flowers. Rows and rows and rows of flowers. And yep, that’s pretty accurate! Apparently, they’re all over Holland, but there’s a huge concentration of them right around the Keukenhof- lots of privately owned tulip farms for as far as the eye can see. Because these farmers grow for the bulbs- rather than the cut flowers- they cut all the blooms within days of peak blooming as that ensures the healthiest bulb to then harvest. Needless to say, peak blooming usually happens sometime in the third week of April and this year was no exception. In other words, we got to see lots and lots of fields…just not many tulips growing in them!

In this picture, you can see one of the 8 remaining operational windmills in the country, as well as an already-harvested field in the distance…

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A tulip field still hanging in there!

A tulip field still hanging in there!

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We can always count on a playground! Definite plus of Europe!

We can always count on a playground! Definite plus of Europe!

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This girl loves a petting zoo!

This girl loves a petting zoo!

Ever wonder how a tulip got its name? Well, wonder no more! Check out that snazzy turban!

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Water Art- These fountains danced a la Bellagio!

Water Art- These fountains danced a la Bellagio!

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Cala Lilies, made me think of my cousin, Megan...

Cala Lilies, made me think of my cousin, Megan…

One of the competitions...We got to vote for our top 3 Calas and our top 3 carnations.

One of the competitions…We got to vote for our top 3 Calas and our top 3 carnations.

This year's Keukenhof theme is Van Gough. Neve just loved his bedroom- ie. would've loved jumping on his bed!

This year’s Keukenhof theme is Van Gough. Neve just loved his bedroom- ie. would’ve loved jumping on his bed!

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The black tulip is among the rarest in the world. It’s not found in nature, so growers have worked diligently for hundreds of years trying to attain the perfect shade- absolute black. This happens by combining a dark shade with a yellow. Most end up a very deep purple- only a handful achieve perfection. And yes, they’re as beautiful and as unique as they look. BTW, in the picture just after the tulip fields above, you can see some black tulips peppered in with the colors…

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My favorite tulips at Keukenhof.

My favorite tulips at Keukenhof.

In Van Gough's living room. The vases are traditional tulip vases.

In Van Gough’s living room. The vases are traditional tulip vases.

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Saw these and wished I could buy them for my Mom. :( The picture doesn't do them justice.

Saw these and wished I could buy them for my Mom. 😦 The picture doesn’t do them justice.

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The jagged-edged tulips were our overall favorites :)

The jagged-edged tulips were our overall favorites 🙂

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IMG_3543Y’all, I’ve got over 200 pictures just from our day at the Keukenhof, so I’ve got to draw the line somewhere or we’ll be here forever and y’all will want to kick me! Ha! Hopefully these do a pretty good job of giving you a peak into the awesome, gorgeous, amazing 80 acres that is the world’s largest planned flower garden. It was the loveliest of days filled with the brightest of colors, the biggest of smiles and the most ‘oohs and aahs,’ as I’m sure you can see why. My heart runneth over with how blessed I am to be her Mom and his wife. If only my family could’ve joined us, it really would’ve been the most perfect Mother’s Day. Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of our awesome weekend in Amsterdam, our most favorite city in all of Europe!

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5 Responses to “Flowers for Mother’s Day!”

  1. Georgia May 11, 2015 at 8:07 PM #

    Am loving your blog & so glad y’all are having such a great time. Little Missy’s expression tells that she is enjoying herself. Such a pretty little girl. Am looking forward to tomorrow’s blog

  2. Robin May 11, 2015 at 1:22 PM #

    I LOVE FLOWERS as you know. What a beautiful place! Sure missed all 3 of you for Mother’s Day but what a lovely way for you all to spend the day. You’re making memories that will last a lifetime.

    • Erin T. May 11, 2015 at 3:09 PM #

      Yes, we most certainly are. Great, great weekend.

  3. Eleanor May 11, 2015 at 12:16 PM #

    Perfect timing for this Blog. We had a couple over last night for dinner and she is from Holland. Now, I can ask her about towns, etc. Love your Blog! Beautiful gardens and the tulips…..Fantastic!

    • Erin T. May 11, 2015 at 3:08 PM #

      Glad you’re enjoying it! What a small world that you just had dinner with a Dutch couple! Please be sure to tell her that we just love their country 🙂 Just beautiful! Missing you, by the way!

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