Keukenhof: God’s own garden

Keukenhof: God’s own garden

Keukenhof is one of the largest flower gardens in the world


Heaven is a concept; it’s the imagination of one’s own ultimate perception of luxury, brilliance and majesty. To give wings to one’s imagination of heaven, God has created certain things and places which are exceptionally unique, rare and exquisite.  And one such place is Keukenhof. It is said to be ‘God’s own garden’ on earth. It is situated in Lisse, near Amsterdam, Netherlands. It opens for a limited period of time, from March to May every year. Fortunately, we were there in April and Keukenhof Garden was in its full bloom.

At the outset, we were smitten by its beauty. We had no idea that a place like this could exist anywhere in the world. We were in awe with its splendour every moment of our stay. There are plenty of places in the world featuring sun and sea, but no other place compares to this garden’s beauty. Tourists visiting Keukenhof will have their jaws open, shaking their heads in disbelief at what they see.

 Keukenhof is supposed to be the top floral garden in the world. It showcases more than 70 lakh bulbs in full bloom over 80 acres and 5,000 sq m of greenhouses. As we entered Keukenhof Garden, the sight was so mesmerising with flowers blooming as far as the eye could see; we were wonderstruck. It looks like a reflection of paradise on earth.

Tulips in pure and vivid colours bring in style and elegance to the garden. The pointed petals form a goblet-shaped bloom, with a flared rim as they arch back in the sun. Ample of them are shallow cup-shaped holding pale yellow anthers, and the petal margins are heavily cut to give a frosty, crystalline appearance that looks most effective when this variety is carpeted in fields.

With names like Golden Parade, World’s Favourite, Big Smile and Olympic Flame, tulips are not expected to be shy. They burst upon the scene in early spring, reaching a crescendo by late spring before disappearing for the summer.

Tulips are one of the highlights here, especially from late April, and they are displayed in various combinations and styles of planting, all perfectly manicured. The result is stunning. There are formal beds, with tulips planted in blocks and lines, sometimes forming rivers of colour along with daffodils, grape hyacinths and hyacinths. In some beds, different bulb mixes are displayed in less formal arrangements. Around lakes and under the trees, beds of tulips seem never-ending.

There are flowers whose creamy white petals have a green flame up their centre that is slightly twisted to give an informal look. Inside the flower, the green flame can be seen on the inner surface of the petals and there is no contrasting blotch. What seemed so remarkable to me was how this minuscule flower was related to showy bedding tulips.  My experience at Keukenhof was completely opposite of my encounter with the tiny tulip in Crete. Until then, I had been dismissive of tulips in bedding, but subsequently, I was truly hooked.

As we meandered through a display of millions of tulips, lilies, azaleas, daffodils, and all kinds of other flowers, our senses could scarcely take in the profusion of stunning visuals and heady fragrances. We were also impressed with the artistry of the Dutch gardening style. No one walks out of this garden without a sigh of contentment.

Even as we left Keukenhof, we encountered more and more eye-catching displays of flowers. Clumps of bright tulips were under the trees and in the grass. It was an impressively beautiful place. There were all kinds of flowers — red, yellow and purple.  It is located in an area called Duin-en-Bollenstreek (Dune and Bulb Region). The scenic beauty of the area was enhanced by canals and a spectacular panorama. The reflection of cherry blossoms in the canals was mind-blowing. As we drove further ahead, we witnessed fields surrounded by a canal and dotted with drawbridges, where men were wearing black outfits and wooden shoes and cutting the flowers. Behind them, the sight of windmills stretched off into the distance. The houses we rode by were surrounded by gardens in blazing colours. The memories of our visit to Keukenhof will haunt us till our last breath.