Diogenes's picture

We live in Holland now and have discovered that the Dutch know a thing or two about flowers, gardens, and growing stuff. In Calgary, many of us who attempt gardening become highly skilled and experienced at watching plants die.

There are only two types of flowers on this page, which shows you how much we have learned since we arrived.

The flowers in the picture below are the very first to appear in spring, similar to the crocuses in Calgary. They spring up like dandelions; mainly in parks, boulevards and areas that are usually just grass.

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Like dandelions, these plants can completely cover a patch of lawn if left unchecked. Unlike dandelions, they only flower once in the spring, do not produce seeds, come in different colors, and resemble like a coarse grass after flowering is done. Brilliant!

These pictures were taken on March 11, 2009. This is 3 weeks later than 2008. Global warming has its quirks.

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The first photo below is a view with the storied Hotel Des Indes in the background, close ot the Escher Museum and in a leafy square that is a favorite for markets, embassies, and art displays.

The next flower in our page is the tulip, of course!

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Tulip season is actually pretty short, maybe 8 weeks, and these pictures are of tulip bulb farms. Most of these flowers are not harvested for the fresh cut flower market but rather for the bulbs which are harvested, sorted and sold or replanted in late summer or early fall.

When the fields are in full bloom, the colors and landscape are amazing. Then, a week later, you ride by the same field an notice that all the heads have been lopped off with only the stem and few leaves remaining.

It looks the work of vandals. My first reaction was "What the hell?".

But there is a reason. The flower part sucks up a lot of resources. Cutting the flower off makes for a better bulb in the end.

Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page - Tulip

Tulip growers using offsets to produce saleable plants need a year or more of growth before plants are large enough to flower; tulips grown from seeds often need five to eight years of growth before plants are flowering size. Commercial growers harvest the bulbs in late summer and grade them into sizes; bulbs large enough to flower are sorted and sold, while smaller bulbs are sorted into sizes and replanted. Holland is the main producer of commercially sold plants, producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually.

Tulips are pretty amazing. What is more amazing is how the Dutch have turned a simple flower into a major export industry.

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