In need of help planning a trip to Holland

EEMc25(z6 SE Pa.)July 24, 2004

I am helping to plan a trip to Holland for the first week of june 2005. The trip is a class trip for a small horticulture program which I am enrolled in. I'm looking for ideas of places to go in Holland that would be interesting and also enriching to our education. This could be anything horticulturally related. Any suggestions would be a huge help and greatly appreciated.

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viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

Contact the University of KY horticulture department for some time-tested information. The student horticulture club there has been making trips overseas, including Netherlands and environs, for the past ten years. Dr. Robert McNiel is the faculty member who helps organize these trips with the students. They also travel in late May/early June.

Good luck and have a great time.

Here is a link that might be useful: UK Horticulture Dept.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2004 at 10:37AM
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erstanfo(8/9 Olympia WA)

I just returned from a garden vacation tour of Europe. A great fine was the Booskop area. This is the area where the Holland nurshery industry was founded in the mid 1800. The growing fields are small plots surrounded by cannals and some growers still use barges for moving plants and materials. Very educational. Esveld Nurshery in Booskop has an excelent historical collection of Japanese Maples.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 3:33PM
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Santa_Barbara(z10 CA)

I have travelled a great deal and love Europe and have a lot of experience with arranging travel. I have sent a friend several times to Holland where he purchases massive quanities of bulbs. I am sure he would be happy to give feedback.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2004 at 4:01PM
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Steveningen(sunset 17, CA)

I have been going to Holland every year since 1991. I would whole-heartedly recommend a visit to the Keukenhoff Gardens. Very beautiful indeed. Spring is a better time to visit, but I'm sure that there will still be plenty blooming in early June. I also wouldn't miss a tour of the Aalsmeer flower auction 12 miles SW of Amsterdam. Fascinating. Another place of interest would be the Hortus Botanicus at the University of Leiden. Founded in 1587, it is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. It used to be closed to the public, but I believe that you are now able to visit by appointment. In the Gelderland province sits the Hoge Veluwe National Park. Extremely beautiful and educational. For a royal experience, try the manicured gardens at Palace Het Loo. There are many,many things to explore in Holland from a horticultural perspective. I'm sure you will enjoy your visit. Let me know if I can be of further help.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2004 at 3:50PM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Hi EEMc,
If you're looking on a map, look for BOSKOOP, not Booskop. the dubble O is in the second syllable. Keukenhof is with one f.
Boskoop is not that far from Aalsmeer and Amsterdam, so it might be combined. The flower auction in Aalsmeer is a fantastic place to go to, they do the auctions very early in the morning as far as I remember. Leiden is close as well.
Palace Het Loo is further to the East, should have a day by itself.

Another thing the dutch do, is, every ten years there is a massive outdoor plant- and flower show, which they call the "Floriade". It is put up by many growers from the Netherlands and also from abroad. We went to the Floriade in Zoetermeer in 1992, but that exhibition has been taken apart, and part is now a new, and very nicely landscaped, neighborhood. My sister lives there. There should have been a floriade since, in 2002 - maybe parts of it are still open.

Spring bulbs such as crocuses and tulips are not for sale IN the spring, because they have to be planted in late fall. You should however be able to get fall flowering ones. They are packed for export and properly inspected. Do check, you don't want a customs officer to repossess your bulbs...
If you want to visit a large garden center (of which there are thousands and thousands), try Bakker in Hillegom. They do mailorder, so they might be on the internet. Again, in the same neighborhood as Leiden and Aalsmeer. My grandparents lived in Hillegom.

One thing that you should NOT overlook, is open air markets. Every town and city has them, each on a different day of the week. Big cities twice. Delft, for example, on Saturday and (I think) on Tuesday. On Tuesday they have a very extensive flower market along the famous Delft canals. This is not only tops in setting, but also they have the most unbelievable flowers for sale. I can check with my sister-in-law when exactly the market is in Delft, but Amsterdam has them too. I believe some of their flower market is on canal boats. Check the internet for "bloemenmarkt". Let me know via my own e-mail (click on my name) if you need something translated.

The Hoge Veluwe is a nature preserve, and interesting enough - more so for the dutch, who are starved for pure nature, since there is so little left. Great for bike tours. There are other nature preserves as well. My mother-in-law's favorite always was the one in the Rhine/Waal/Maas river delta area: the Biesbos (old spelling: Biesbosch), you can take a boat tour through there. Unfortunately also very popular with small boat owners.

Another interesting part of the country is the "Westland", which is south and southeast of The Hague, north and northwest of Rotterdam. This is where hundreds and hundreds of acres are under glass. Maybe the Kentucky people have a contact. They used to grow tomatoes and grapes in the 60's, but nowadays ultra long stemmed roses, rare as well as common orchids, giant mums, etc. Lot of hydroponics.
What we ourselves do before we go on a trip into the unknown, is, check with the AAA. Sometimes they have guided tours, for which they have fliers, with listings of all the great places they will take you to... and those places are the ones you will want to see, even though you're not ging with the AAA!

Good luck,

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 11:09PM
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We skipped Keukenhof because it was raining the day we planned to go and because I'm not really fond of hugh swaths of bright colored bulbs, and went instead to Leiden's Hortus Botanicus. It happened to be right where we needed to get off the train from Amsterdam to catch the bus to Keukenhof. It was lovely - even in a drizzle, and the glasshouses were great. It's the oldest in the Netherlands. It's open to the public daily.

The Amsterdam Hortus (botanic garden) is worth a stop, too. It has lovely paths through beautifully laid-out gardens.

There are many others, of course, but these 2 were my favorites in my 2 trips to the Netherlands.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leiden Hortus Botanicus

    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 10:19AM
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oh wow i am sooooooooo excited!
planning a short trip to holland...want to see gardens and get bulbs.
is there camping? buses? open markets have certified plants to take back to canada? love to see windmills too, don't have a lot of money...but a garden tripi a dream

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 2:08AM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

I lived in Rotterdam and would take the train to Amsterdam to go to museums and to walk along the cannals. Looking out the train windows you will see peoples gardens one of my favorite things to do. If you can just go walking through a town or two to see what people have done in there own gardens it helps you to see "real gardens" when you want to transfer it to your own.

wendyLee, yes there is great camping in Holland, but I would recommend renting a car to get to the camping places. Another way is to stay in youth hostels in the cities. If you don't rent a car the trains are the way to go. If you really want to see the country rent a bicyle and travel that way. It is a flat country, small and easy to get around by bike. Then you can get to campgrounds. You won't have any trouble seeing windmills, they are everywhere. Amsterdam is a wonderful city, but do get out to see the countryside. Open markets don't sell certified plants. You can find plants, flowers and bulbs in the Amsterdam airport.


P.S. Don't forget the pottery and art.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 8:29AM
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