Garden enthusiasts from throughout the world congregated in Holland this year to attend the world's foremost horticultural display, Floriade. The 65 hectare site could absorb all comers, without seeming crowded. People wandered leisurely through this massive horticulture display allowing their senses to absorb the many varied exhibits. I was fortunate to be amongst the visitors in June. By the end of that month the millionth visitor had passed through their gates. As with all gardens, the face of Floriade changed throughout the duration of the exhibit, which opened on April 6 and closed October 20, 2002.
During the early weeks the trade show venue featured flowering bulbs, the specialty of Holland. First the potted plants and cut flowers: Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, hippeastrum, lilies and other varieties of bulbs were shown in the area known as 'Under the Roof.' Of course those same bulbs came into bloom in various areas throughout the park during their annual flowering season. At the time of my visit, the flower judging was just coming to an end Under the Roof. Massive displays of roses, carnations, orchids and many other exquisite blooms were being exhibited for judging. Some international presentations also caught my interest in that building. I saw varieties of flowers in colours, sizes and shapes that I had never seen before. The whole display offered me a sensory feast.
A futuristic glasshouse (or greenhouse) had hydroponic gardens producing abundant crops of tomatoes and peppers. I watched trays of other plants were moved effortlessly throughout the greenhouse on a network of computerized, mechanized rollers, with only the push of a button. This glasshouse of the future gave a preview of the ideal glasshouse nursery in the year 2010.
A giant, sandhill was erected near the south end of the park. It looked much like a massive, green pyramid. Little computerized cars were available to carry you to the summit where you could have a panoramic view of the whole complex. The nearby Wonderwaterland was a "Time Ship" taking you through 10,000 years of the relationship of water and our world.
Past the hill, I came to the very peaceful area know as, By the Lake. The motto of Floriade, 'Feel the Art of Nature' was especially apt here. Serenity, romance, contemplation of colours and scents were thoughtfully incorporated through the use of plants, flowers, shrubs, rock, wood and water, into the beautifully landscaped gardens found here. The area enticed you to stay and absorb the art of nature with your senses. Twenty international gardens had their displays nestled around the lake. The dahlia display in the fall promised to be quite spectacular.
Fortunately there was non-stop transportation from this section back to the north gate. Although I had taken my time to wander through Floriade, I was ready for the ride back. One of several food pavilions was near the north gate. I enjoyed a quick meal before checking out the shops clustered there.
Floriade offered a trade show venue for the horticulture industry to share their latest developments. Gardeners, whether professional or rank amateurs could find much of interest in this exhibition. Then there are those like myself who simply went to drink in the beauty of the gardens, flowers and multitude of exhibits. Whatever their goals, Floriade bestowed a sensory treat to its visitors.
Floriade only happens once every ten years, however I have been told that The Keukenhoff Gardens have a wonderful display of flowering bulbs each spring . Unfortunately my visit to Holland came too late this year. I am hoping to get the opportunity to visit those gardens on another visit to Holland.
Article and Pictures by M. Maxine George
For further information contact:
The Netherlands Board of Tourism
Telephone: 1-888-GO HOLLAND (1-888-464 6552)
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