The term bucket list became a popular slang after the movie The Bucket List became such a huge hit and struck a chord with so many of us that life is short – so make it sweet. Even before I developed my own “bucket list”, the Kuekenhof Gardens were on my must-see list. I had traveled to Holland many times, but was never able to orchestrate the timing so that I was there when the gardens were at their peak. Also making a trip there a little tricky is the fact that the gardens are only open 2 months out of the year. This year my stars were aligned along with a trip to Sweden to see our granddaughter and celebrate her 3rd Birthday. The trip to Kuekenhof did not disappoint, and Amsterdam is a fun city as well, so I would highly recommend this excursion to anyone who appreciates nature and spectacular garden design. It is the most photographed place in the world.

Top things to do in May:

  • Enjoy all of the beautiful plants continuing to come into the nurseries from growers – nurseries keep their inventories high through May.
  • Complete spring plantings of perennials, summer annuals, rose bushes, shrubs and trees.
  • Ideally, this is the last month to plant ball & burlap trees, so they have a chance to tolerate the summer heat…of course you can plant throughout the summer, but this will require more work on your part.
  • Begin to convert your containers from spring flowers to those that will endure the summer heat.
  • Review the placement of your perennials and edit as necessary – are sunny perennials getting enough sun – if not move them to a sunnier spot – likewise for shade loving plants.
  • Apply a dose of ironite or milorganite for greener lawn.
  • Check for suckers and dead limbs in your trees – out they go!
  • Secure climbing roses and vines – they will grow twice as fast – don’t let them languish on the ground or flop around in the wind.
  • Apply slow release fertilizer to flower beds and containers.
  • Monitor your water based on the weather – don’t leave your irrigation system on auto pilot – take control for better results and water conservation.
  • Enjoy the surrounding gardens and neighborhoods, as this is definitely one of the most beautiful months to see various plants and shrubs showing off their season’s best.

Best of the Season

  • Everything is green in shades only seen this time of year
  • Roses, hydrangeas, flowering vines – clematis, jasmine
  • Early Summer Flowering perennials – penstemmon, scabiosa, huechera, daisies…and so many more
  • Japanese Maples

Just a few photos from our stroll through the Kuekenhof Gardens:

Kuekenhof is the largest bulb flower park in the world, it covers an area of over 32 acres and over 4.5 million tulips are planted in 100 different varieties. 7 million flower bulbs are planted by hand.

As we walked through the front gate to the garden, this massive display flanked us on both sides of the entrance – you could hear an audible wow from everyone!

More than 2500 trees can be found throughout the gardens. As you can see, many of the trees are enormous – as they are hundreds of years old. There are 87 different varieties of trees scattered about creating the incredible bones of the garden design.

The fragrance of the hyacinths was completely intoxicating.

Where Kuekenhof is situated now, was a hunting area in the 15th century. This design, in the English landscape style, has always been the basis of Kuekenhof.

There are many lakes and streams situated throughout the gardens, this was a unique feature – stepping areas fashioned to look like lily pads….

A small garden shop had scores of potted bulbs displayed.

A beautiful combination of pink tulips and burgundy hyacinths.

Inside an exhibition hall, new varieties of various bulbs were displayed. My husband is over 6’ tall - look at how high these tulips are!!!!! These were almost unbelievable!

My husband also has large hands….look at the size of these tulip flowers!

Playing chess with a woman from Russia…he stopped after a while… 

The only thing that made our trip to Kuekenhof better was seeing it for the first time with dear friends…White Flowering Crabapple tree behind us.

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -