Saturday, April 26, 2008

Keukenhof 2008 - Floral Letdown Of The Year

Have you ever heard of those flesh-eating tropical flowers that use attractive smells to lure unsuspecting insects and then trap them in a sticky juice that also functions as a digesting liquid? Keukenhof is a huge contriving plant that uses cunning marketing techniques and millions of flowers to draw busloads of naïve tourists into its money-sucking facilities.

Keukenhof is something like "kitchen garden" in Dutch. But seriously, my Mother's kitchen garden is a considerably more imaginative than the hyped tourist attraction. A bunch of flowerbeds spread out over quite a vast surface, without any coherence or theme, are there clearly just to lure people into buying tulip bulbs from the souvenir shops and keep the shamelessly overpriced cafeteria in business.

Without a single photogenic view in sight, I ended up photographing the plants, some of which are very lovely, but so are artichokes and amaranths that my Mother grows for food and she does not charge a EUR13.50 entrance fee and 50 cent every time you take a pee.

If you are a big tulip buff, you will definitely get a much bigger kick driving around sprawling tulip fields in the area. Vibrantly multicoloured under the relentlessly blue Dutch sky, they are the real beauty and best kept secret of Holland. And you are free to pee around anywhere, no fee charged.

P.S. My idea of a tastefully laid out garden that makes you want to linger on and on and on before you even know it is Monet's Japanese Garden in Giverny of the water-lily pond fame. Technically there is not much Japanese about it at all, it is more of an essence of the Japanese aesthetics shining through a French Impressionist prism.


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