Tulips Ahoy

I love this time of year and the spring flowers. Tulips are unashamedly cheerful and full of colour and optimism.  We love visiting our daughter in The Netherlands at this time of year. Flying over the flat but beautifully coloured landscape is a real treat. As you drive round the country there are fields of different colours around every bend. The Keukenhof or ‘kitchen garden’ is certainly worth a visit; you will see more tulips than you ever would have thought possible. I see that it won’t be open for Spring 2021, due to the virus but they do have some fabulous videos for a virtual visit – see below.

I did famously ask a very stupid question on a spring visit and have never been allowed to forget it. To understand this, you must bear in mind that The Netherlands is a very very flat country. Much of it is reclaimed land and hills are at a premium.  As I mentioned above, there are fields of bulbs as far as the eye can see as soon as you leave a town or city. These fields are maintained by very careful water management. The reclaimed land is only a few metres higher than sea level and so dykes and ditches and canals crisscross the whole area. When I saw what looked like a lot of people sitting in a field, in two lines facing each other, I wondered aloud what they were doing. They were of course sitting in a low level barge taking a scenic trip on the waterways to view the flowers – not just sitting in a field.  How was I to know? Oh how they all laughed. 

two watercolour paintings of a single tulip with a red and yellow bloom.
Two water colour paintings of a single tulip

I always buy a small bunch of tulips at the supermarket at this time of year. As a further attempt at water colours from life I did a couple of single stems. You can see the horrible messy mistake of some extra pencil lines in the second photo. It was this that prompted me to invest in some ‘posh’ paper.  I’ll report on whether this was worth it or not at a later date. 


  1. I love your tulips, they look very lifelike! From my experience it really is worth investing in some ‘posh’ paper, especially if you are going to start wetting it first before painting.

    I love tulips too and when I first came to live in Spain I ordered a load of tulip bulbs, including the parrot variety, as well as other bulbs and plants from a nursery in Holland. They’re still flourishing! Interestingly enough, I heard Pope Francis last Easter (or was it the one before) thank the Dutch nurseries for supplying all the flowers in the Vatican for the Easter celebrations. They certainly do do a good job!

    I love the people sitting in fields (ha, ha)! It reminds me of the time when I was cycling around Amsterdam in autumn — I didn’t spot the tramlines which were covered in leaves until my rear wheel got stuck in one of them and though I tried to manoeuvre out of it, I just succeeded in falling heavily to the ground! How embarrassing!

    Liked by 1 person

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