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The Grey Nomad in Holland for the Floriade 2002

The Autumn Crocus are in flower in the garden at the cottage. It is September.

These ethereal little flowers are always unexpected, one day there is no sign of them and the next day they are in flower. This means that I must plant the bulbs in my pots for the patio.

I order bulbs from Bloms every year. Now, 10 years on, my garden dances with flowers in the Spring.

I love to see great gardens, and have seen many throughout the world.

Tromsø Botanical Gardens, Norway - The most northerly botanical gardens in the world.

Tromsø in Norway, the most northerly botanic garden in the world, still eludes me. This led me to remember my visit to the 2002 Floriade. It is held every 10 years in Holland. The one I went to was in Haarlammeer. The next one will be held in 2012 in Holland at Venlo. It will last from Saturday 6th April to Sunday 20th October. Each Floriade is held at a different location, the first one, in 1960, was in Rotterdam.

The park at the Floriade in Haarlemmeer, Holland

There are acres of flowers in every conceivable environment - from flowers floating on ponds, to covering hillsides, to sweating in hot houses. So throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn the show is open to visitors. It is the world’s biggest flower exhibition. The park at the Floriade in Haarlemmeer, Holland

I wanted to see this show, so I contacted the Dutch Tourist Board.

As I live about a half an hour from Manchester Airport, they suggested that I took the 6am flight out of Manchester. There is a 1 hour time difference for Holland, putting them one hour ahead of us. My youngest son took me to the airport before he went to work.

A traditional sight in Holland, the windmill. Build in wood, a scale model.

Travelling was simpler then.

I arrived at Schippol Airport in time to catch the 8.45 am free bus, running from the airport to the Floriade (the Dutch are so much more civilised regarding their transport system). My return air ticket allowed me free entry to the show and the gates opened from 9am.

A traditional sight in Holland, tulips in full bloom.

The return journey was completed in the same way and I was back in the cottage for 10pm.

A traditional sight in Holland, tulips in full bloom.

The whole adventure cost me, with spending money, a total of £88.00.

It was a great day. I took sandwiches and sat amongst the Spring flowers in the Valley of Flowers with their intoxicating perfume to eat my lunch.

It was absolutely beautiful. The solar heated pavilions contained exhibits from nations all over the world.

South African King Proteas in bloom.

There were Proteas from South Africa - King Proteas.

Cacti from all over the world exhibited in their desert backgrounds.

I first fell in love with these wonderful flowers at Chelsea. The stand from Israel was amazing, it consisted of huge Sunflowers - not real ones. In the centres they had small television sets showing Israel’s horticultural expertise.

There were cacti from all parts of the world, exhibited against their desert backgrounds. Some were so big and stunning.

South American orchids.

There were orchids from Singapore and South America - I have been lucky enough to see these Orchid Gardens. I have also seen orchids growing on trees in The Rain Forests. They look like weird - bird nests with wonderful flowers.

Azaleas in full bloom.


There were Bougainvilleas, Azaleas.


All of the beautiful flowers of the earth. Azaleas in full bloom.
Flowers in full bloom making a stunning setting.

There were native villages from Africa. South Sea houses on stilts. Little trains, little cars to take you to the top of the hill. Tulips - the traditional flowers of the Netherlands.

There were no drivers or rails; magnets embedded in the roadway I believe, and all remote controlled. Statues and monuments were everywhere - a bit bizarre. The eastern European Countries made gardens often with poetry shown in some form - you could sense the great weight of relief that now they had their freedom.

Tulips - the traditional flowers of the Netherlands.


For 2012 preparations began 6 yrs ago when over 25,000 trees were planted. Everything that grows and blooms can be seen, smelled and tasted. It was like spending the day in another world. lillies in full bloom adorn the park.

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