A couple of very sunny days in and around Amsterdam worshiping the tulip. From the Hortus Bulborum where ancient types are still preserved by a team of volunteers, to the futuristic looking flower auctions in Aalsmeer. I thought that I was prepared for the extraordinary excesses of the Kerkenhof display gardens - but in fact still found them to be overwhelming and inspiring in a way that I had not expected. The beautiful park like setting with the sun shining through the emerging leaves of the mature trees somehow allows beds bursting with nothing but bulbs to avoid being vulgar. 4 million bulbs are planted every year and it is a wonderful showcase for the bulb growers.
One of my favourite visits was to the ancient gardens of Aalsmeer where we found that flower farming in the way that we still do it (without the canals to transport everything, and without the incredibly fertile looking soil) was a museum item. This came directly after the contrasting visit to the very high tech Flower Market and it was quite a relief to see growing on a comprehensible scale.
And so home to our own tulips, and inspired for the Tulip Workshop.