Lesley Bellew visits the spring flower garden at Keukenhof.

Lesley Bellew, March 2014, See the full article at Kent Online: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/lifestyle/gardening/seven-million-bulbs-burst-into-14824

Lesley Bellew visits the spring flower garden at Keukenhof with Avalon Waterways:

Lesley Bellew visited Keukenhof with Avalon Waterways, on an excursion from Avalon Poetry II. The new suite ship offers eight-day Tulips of Holland cruises on April 9, 11 and 23, 2015, visiting Haarlem for Enkhuizen tulip fields, Friesland, Lelystad, Kampen, Gelderse Ijssel for Arnhem, Rotterdam for Keukenhof and Amsterdam with prices from £1,379.

After a short flowering season, the seven million bulbs, which make up the world’s largest spring flower garden at Keukenhof, are dug up and made into compost.

It seems radical but no wonder the soil is so good. It has to be - Keukenhof is the showcase for Holland’s 100 royal suppliers of spring bulbs.

Each year Keukenhof’s designer creates a new garden in consultation with the suppliers to ensure the colours, height and flowering time of their bulbs will fit into his planting scheme.

The bulbs are planted in three layers, known as lasagne, so grape hyacinths, crocus and tiny Tete-a-Tete daffodils bring the garden alive with carpets of colour before the blousier daffodils and hyacinths, then tulips, steal the show.

This year, hyacinths in crescent-shaped beds of pinks and purples hug the park’s main lake. Their reflection doubles the colour but it is the scent that really makes visitors heady.

Inside the giant pavilions, sweet perfume is even more intense - an almost knock-out blow as visitors walk in. Among the classic blocks of colourful tulips, new varieties are showcased. A dazzling, inspiring display of hybrids fascinate even the most experienced gardener.

There’s an education pavilion and information centre for all levels of interest, as well as seven ‘Inspirational’ gardens for visitors wanting to learn more about recycling, attracting bees and insects to their gardens, kitchen gardens and more.

Keukenhof has short window for visitors and closes on May 18. The gardens will open from March 20-May 17, 2015. Visit keukenhof.nl