Floriade, The World Horticultural Exhibition is a Gardener’s Delight

Magic Carpet Journals takes you to Floriade in Holland, to experience the World Horticultural Exhibition – a Gardner’s Delight that only occurs every 10 years.

Via Magic Carpet Journals. Story and Photos by M. Maxine George.

Garden enthusiasts from throughout the world congregate in Holland every ten years to attend the world’s foremost horticultural show. The next Floriade is scheduled to open on April 14, 2022 and end six months later on Octoboer 9th 2022. Floriade’s 65 hectare site can easily absorb all comers, without seeming crowded. People wander leisurely through the massive horticultural displays allowing their senses to absorb the many varied exhibits. I planned my trip to Holland to be there in June, so I could attend one of these special events. By the end of that month the millionth visitor had passed through their gates. As with all gardens, the face of Floriade will be constantly changing throughout duration of the exhibit, so you can plan a visit anytime through spring, summer, and into fall.

Floriade Holland Exhibition

 The title ‘World Horticultural Exhibition’ is not given lightly. Strict criteria have to be met before the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris allows the designation. The first Floriade was held in 1960 in the Rotterdam region of Holland. World expositions can only be held every ten years, so the next event, coming in 2022, will be the seventh Floriade. The one I attended, had been five years “in the making”. It was held in Haarlemmermeer, near Schiphol Airport. It was easy to get to Floriade from the city. A train out of Amsterdam deposited me at the Schiphol Airport. From there I caught a special articulated bus to Floriade. It offered the option of being deposited at the north or south entrance. The whole site was wheelchair accessible. 

Floriade Holland Exhibition

The motto of Floriade was ‘Feel the Art of Nature’. Serenity, romance, contemplation of colours and scents are thoughtfully incorporated through the use of plants – flowers, shrubs, rock and wood. There were 40 exhibitors from other countries, 200 exhibitors from Holland. The park was divided into three general sections. One referred to as ‘Near the roof,’ the second – ‘By the Hill,’ and the third ‘On the Lake.’ Many countries had various exhibits throughout the site. Canada had three topiary geese appearing to be taking off from a small lake near the roof. Under the roof I found presentations that required protection from the elements.

Floriade Holland Exhibition

During the early weeks the trade show 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 come 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. Needless to say, these blooms were the most perfect of their specific classes. The whole display was a sensual delight, offering a visual feast and with an aroma beyond compare. I saw varieties of flowers in colours, sizes and shapes that I had never seen or heard of before. The international presentations also caught my interest in that building too.

Floriade offers a trade show venue for the horticulture industry to share their latest developments. A futuristic glasshouse (or greenhouse) had hydroponic gardens producing abundant crops of tomatoes and peppers. Boxes of tomatoes and peppers offered opportunities for visitors to taste the produce. The fresh vegetables, grown in the greenhouses, were firm, had good colour and were very tasty. I stood amazed, watching as the trays of 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 nurseries in the future. (We would call these greenhouses in North America.)

A giant, sandhill had been erected near the south end of the park. It looked much like a massive, green pyramid. Little computerized cars could carry you to the summit where you would have a panoramic view of the whole complex. The nearby Wonder Waterland 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 there. 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 there. The area enticed visitors to stay and absorb the art of nature with your senses. Twenty international gardens had their displays nestled around the lake. I wish I could have returned to see the dahlia display in the fall. I believe it would have been quite spectacular too. 

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.

Gardeners, whether professional or enthusiastic amateurs would find much of interest in this very special exhibition. Then there are those, like myself, who simply go to drink in the beauty of the gardens, flowers and the multitude of exhibits. Whatever their goals, Floriade bestows a sensory treat for its visitors.

With the possibility of traveling when Covid 19 is under control, you might consider a visit to Floriade 2022.

Story and Photos by M. Maxine George

Last Updated February 19, 2021 by Matthew George – Webmaster