Secret Gardens: New York’s High Line Garden

New York’s high line gardens arise from a section of about 1.45 miles of abandoned elevated railroad and, above all, from the project by Piet Oudolf, who claims that “” My greatest inspiration is nature. I don’t want to copy it, but to recreate the emotion. “

Each garden and each section is recreated following the seasons and moods, but above all letting the native and spontaneous species, albeit followed and cared for by a team of gardeners, can proliferate among the abandoned tracks of the elevated railway, thus recreating a pleasant and livable environment away from the chaos and stress of the city.

A bit of history

The High line was once destined for demolition but luckily the local community got together and decided to reuse this disused railway line and recreate a garden that was an example for all the great cities of the world as well as a green space for New York and the whole local community.

In 1924 the tracks were still at street level but, given the dangerousness of rail transport and the high mortality due to investments caused by the train that passed to bring the goods to the warehouses of the industrial area, it was decided to bring the tracks to an elevated line , initially called “West side Elevated Line”.

 

Between the 1960s and the 1980s, with the increase in road transport, the elevated railway became increasingly disused with an initial demolition of the southern part and a subsequent proposal for total demolition of the entire line. But with the total inactivity of the whole line, people also began to think about reusing it for other purposes, until in 1999 Joshua David and Robert Hammond founded Friends of the High Line, a non-profit protection, to defend its conservation and reuse as a public space.

 

In 2003 to stimulate dialogue on the High Line, at a time when its transformation into a park was not yet assured, Friends of the High Line hosted an “ideas contest”, receiving 720 ideas from over 36 countries on the ways in which the park could be used.

 

The turning point came between 2004 and 2006: the city council of the then mayor Bloomberg approved the transformation of the High line into a park, while the design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the floor plan designer Piet Oudolf were appointed as a team to transform the High Line.

 

In 2009, High line Art was founded and continues to produce works along and around the New York garden every year. Today the High Line is now a continuous greenway, 1.45 miles long, with over 500 species of plants and trees.

The park is maintained, operated and programmed by Friends of the High Line in partnership with the New York Department of Parks and Recreation. In addition to public spaces and gardens, the High Line hosts a diverse array of public programs, community and teen involvement, and world-class artwork and performances, free and open to all.

 

The gardens

The design of the High line is inspired by the native landscape that for years has developed growing between the abandoned tracks of the elevated railway. In doing so, the landscapes and emotions change every season and, although a team of gardeners led by Oudolf, the garden designer, constantly looks after the gardens, here you can always breathe the mystery and wonder of a wild place.

A few photos




The 16 Garden zones

The high line gardens of New York are divided into 16 zones, different in environment, style and more. Walking along mile 45 of the abandoned railroad track, you will surely recognize these different areas.

  1. Donald Pels e Wendy Keys Gansevoort Woodland: The southern end of the park is shaded by gray birch and lingonberry trees.
  2. Washington Grasslands e Woodland Edge: This section is filled with grasses, perennials, and woody species that tolerate the shade of the surrounding buildings.
  3. Diller – Von Furstenberg Sundeck & Water Feature: Wetland gardens bloom near the fountain, a favorite with visitors.
  4. Hudson River View: A selection of native plants stand out against the skyline.
  5. Northern Spur Reserve: Malus and other plants evoke the wild landscape of the High Line’s past.
  6. 10th Avenue Square: A grove of trees frames the view of the High Line with the Statue of Liberty.
  7. Chelsea Grasslands: or the embodiment of Piet Oudolf’s typical “matrix plantation” style.
  8. Chelsea Thicket: The original routes pass through a miniature forest of dogwood and other shrubs and trees.
  9. 23rd Street Lawn and Steps to Sit: A mix of tall fescue and perennial rye work together in the park’s lawn.

       10. Lawn Walk: Stroll through the Korean feather rush grass and West Chelsea’s galleries and warehouses.

       11. Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover: Rise up to the canopy  and come face to face with magnolias and sassafras.

       12. Wildflower Field and Radial Planting: Warm season herbs mix with wildflowers like aster and tall mint seed.

       13. Spur: The plants of the northeastern woods inspire the wild charm of the gardens of the Spur.

       14. Pershing’s Oriental Rail Yards, Crossroads, and Square Beams: Lush, textured plantings include fragrant perennials and ornamental grasses. 

       15. Intermediate Walkway: The closest thing to the desert that thrived when the tracks were unused.

       16. 34th Street Entry Plaza and CSX Transportation Gate: Milkweed of  butterflies, cottonwoods and an apple tree refer to the wild landscape.

Where, how, when

 The high line gardens are open from 9 am to 9 pm. At the time of writing, anti-covid measures are still active, so we recommend that you check the official website the accesses open both to enter and to exit and relative working lifts.

The same goes for bookings on weekends and during the week

https://www.thehighline.org/visit/    

Flowers and plants of the Atacama desert

The Atacama Desert is one of the strangest and most beautiful natural phenomena occurring in the far north of Chile. This is a gigantic desert area that is characterized by its aridity, but in a few years, this barren desert landscape has changed abruptly becoming partly overflowing with bright and fresh colors, thanks to the germination of millions of plants and flowers. This unusual phenomenon is known as the “Flowered Desert” and offers the opportunity to witness a singular spectacle, full of spectacular beauties, which is worth attending, if you have the opportunity.

The phenomenon is caused by the winter rains that “El Niño” brings with it, another natural phenomenon associated with ocean currents and which has brought enough water to sprout and grow thousands of native species of the Norte Chico. The seeds began flowering in September, in a process that typically lasts until November.

The flowers and plants of the Atacama desert

 Añañuca is a truly incredible flower if you think of the love stories and legends that surround it and that, in Chile, remember it. We have told the legend of him in this article

Argylia radiata is a native flower of the Atacama Desert. You can find it in the north of Chile or in the south of Peru. It is part of the Bignoniaceae family and resists really adverse climatic conditions with maximum temperatures of 34 ° C, minimums of about 2 ° C and annual rainfall of about 12 mm.

Rodophiala Laeta: Also known as purple añañuca, it is one of the rare flowers that bloom in the Atacama Desert and coastal areas of the country.

Heliotropium floridum: it is a 15-18 cm tall shrub with ascending branches. It blooms from September to November.

Garra de Leon or Bomarea ovallei is another endemic plant of the Atacama Desert. Its shape and color are truly unique and you will hardly find something equally beautiful around the world. It is at risk of extinction, therefore, if you are lucky enough to come across it, avoid touching it and limit yourself to some nice photos to share with friends.

Cistanthe grandiflora, better known as pata de guanaco. Endemica de Chile, it is one of the flowers that also grows in the Atacama Desert when it blooms.

Copiapoa is an origiral cactus from the Atacama desert area. Several specimens have been found stolen from the desert for an inestimable value and preserved in the Botanical Garden of Milan, until their reintroduction into their natural environment. For more info you can read our article here

Orejia di Zorro (Aristolochia chilensis) By Dick Culbert from Gibsons, B.C., Canada – Aristolochia chilensis, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34451895

Retamilla (Genista monspessulana): also known as French broom, this shrub with yellow flowers, as well as in the Atacama desert, grows in the hottest and driest areas of the Mediterranean.

The algarrobo is a tree belonging to the genus of mimosaceae and is very common in the Atacama desert

 Dr. Francisco Squeo explained that the fact that vegetation is coupled to the climate is characteristic of the desert. In dry years, many plants are in recess, such as añañucas or chives, and annuals such as sighs and Pata de guanaco.

Dr. Squeo also works at the Center for Advanced Studies in Arid Zones (Ceaza), which qualifies him as an expert in the field. He also specified that this process is also related to the “Niño” and “Niña” phenomena, which bring with them many and few rains, respectively, in five-year periods. However, there is another less known climatic oscillation, called the Pacific Decadal, which occurs every 20-25 years, which generates the same effect on the delicate ecosystem of this area.

This has rainy phases called “Niña” and dry phases called “La Vieja”. The 80s and 90s saw the “El Viejo” phase where the “Niños” that took place were very rainy. From 1998 to 2025 there should be “La Vieja”, in which the “Children” who are to be born will be weak, it is said.

In the Coquimbo region there are 1,500 native plants, while in Atacama there are a thousand others. Most of them respond to rain and that is why flowers appear, bushes increase their biomass and fauna also increases.

As part of this phenomenon, native rodents have food and their populations grow the following year. And with the increase in herbivorous rodents, the following years the foxes, which hunt and feed on them, will tend to grow between the second and third rainy years, explained Dr. Squeo.

But as in everything beautiful, even here, the risk of loss of many species is quite high: from goats that eat all kinds of plants, to tourists who tear the flowers or remove the bulbs to resell them on the internet, they risk destroying or however, revive the ecosystem of a unique environment in the world.

Like all things subject to delicate balances, the species that germinate in the “Flowered Desert” must be protected to preserve their genetic and endemic heritage, which have adapted to these particular climatic characteristics, after several thousand years of adaptation, and for to which all contribution, will and commitment are required.

The 10 floral parades to see at least once in a lifetime

Flowers are not only used in the world to decorate, to give gifts or perhaps by the cosmetics industry but, in many parts of the world, also for unique events, for peaceful battles or colorful parades that attract miles of tourists from all over the world. Sometimes they require months and months of planning and work which are then concentrated in a few hours or a few days of intense events but, in any case, the result is always and in any case sensational and unique. Here are some events that each of us should attend at least once in our life:

1. Battle of flowers in Nice – France
Here is a truly unique show in the world. In the town of the Côte d’Azur, on the famous Promenade des Anglais, the most famous battle of flowers in the world takes place. The concept of battle refers to the fact that flowers are thrown by models on the floats to the public and vice versa, in an atmosphere of joy and festivity. With almost 150 years of history, the event is designed as a showcase for the floriculture of the area, in fact almost all the flowers used are locally produced.

2. Parade of flowers in Sanremo – Italy
This event saw the light in 1904 in the coastal town and is also known as the Carnival of flowers or Corso fiorito. About a dozen municipalities such as Sanremo in the province of Imperia participate in the parade of floats, which is generally held on the second Sunday of March. The floats are obviously all floral themed and made exclusively with fresh flowers, so the final set-up (infioramento) of the floats, designed for months, takes place the night before the parade. The path along the seafront is seen on average by about 50,000 spectators every year.

3. Coirso Zundert – Holland
The CorsoZundert it is considered the largest floral parade in the world. Since 1936 the Dutch town has hosted this event in which 20 districts each participate with their own wagon. Only dahlias are used for the decorations. The preparation of the floats lasts a whole year and culminates with the parade held on the first Sunday of September in front of tens and tens of thousands of spectators and tourists arriving from all over the world.

4. Bloemencorso Noordwijk-Haarlem – Holland
On the evening of the second Friday in April, floats adorned with flowers gather in Noordwijk for the spectacular night parade. On Saturday in April, in Noordwijk, the floats participating in the parade leave at around 9 am for Haarlem, 42 km away. The parade winds through the fields of the bulb region, a real treasure of the territory, to arrive after about 12 hours at destination. The next day, Sunday, the floats remain on display throughout the day on the square in Haarlem to conclude what is considered one of the most beautiful floral displays in the world.

5. Maggiolata Lucignanese – Italy
It is the event with the parade of flower floats held in Lucignano, in the province of Arezzo, a characteristic town for its elliptical-shaped historic center. La Maggiolata, which celebrates the arrival of spring, takes the last two Sundays in May, and follows the Flower Festival, which is celebrated on the first Sunday in May. In the Maggiolata, four districts of the town challenge each other to prepare the most beautiful floral float. At the end of the event, the floats are ” stripped ” to give life to the colorful Battle of Flowers.

6. Flowers parade in Ebbs – Austria
In Austria, in Ebbs, in the Kufstein, Tyrolean region, the historic floral carnival takes place at the end of August. The main flower of this traditional event that has been taking place for over twenty years is the dahlia. The event ends in style with the Sunday float parade, after three days of celebrations in the streets of the town.

7. Silletes of Medellin – Colombia
Mainly dedicated to orchids this event held in the second Colombian city. The ” Siletteros ” parade, that is, characters carrying the ” silletes ” on their shoulders, compositions of orchids and other flowers weighing several tens of kilos, has been repeated here since 1957. The silletes exist in four main categories, but the traditional ones come to have, in a single composition, even over one hundred types of flowers.

8. Festival of flower of Madeira – Portugal
On the island of Madeira, the island of eternal spring, the traditional Flower Festival is held in May. Born in the late seventies, this event lasts several weeks and is full of attractions and events, including the inevitable parade of floats decorated with flowers. The party involves the whole island, but the most spectacular events are found in Funchal, the capital, such as the mural called ” Muro de Esperanca ” made with flowers by children on Saturday morning. Don’t miss the flower market.

9. Flower fest in Chiang Mai (Thailand)

In the old part of the city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, the spectacular Flower Festival takes place every year in early February, culminating in the parade of floats. In the park in the center of the city an exhibition is set up in which you can admire the wonderful floral compositions specially made.

10. The flowers battle of Valencia – Spain
On the last Sunday of July, in Spain and precisely in Valencia, the battle of flowers, especially carnations, intensively cultivated here, is celebrated along the Paseo de la Alanmeda, at the end of the week of the Valencia Fair (Gran Fira de Valencia). The tradition has been repeated since the end of the nineteenth century and is the Spanish floral event with the longest tradition. On sumptuously decorated floats, girls in traditional costumes throw flowers to the public until, in the evening, the entire path is covered with them.

The protected sea of the lands of Pisa

Free and wild beach in Marina di Vecchiano and sunbathing on the limited number beach in San Rossore. On foot or by bicycle in the pine forests, floral species and rare animals.

The natural park of Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli is bordered by thirty kilometers of constantly moving beaches, protected by dunes and pine forests.

We are in the Terre di Pisa in front of a unique sea along the entire Tyrrhenian coast, where equipped beaches alternate with the nature reserve: Lecciona, Bufalina, Bocca di Serchio, Lame di Fuori, Dunes of Tirrenia …

The mouths of the Arno and Serchio create in this stretch of coast a peculiar geographical condition that hosts numerous rare plant and animal species such as the Fratino, an endangered bird, which only here has found the right habitat where to nest and reproduce.

Where today the dunes and pine forests of the current natural park extend, a brackish marsh originally stagnated, part of an ancient lagoon that stretched up to Pisa. It was the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando II de ‘Medici who wanted these wild places, populated by wild boars, fallow deer and foxes, in his possessions, convinced that he would adapt well to the mild climate of San Rossore, as indeed happened. However, it took several centuries and extensive reclamation works for this vast territory to become a destination for naturalistic visits and a treasure trove of biodiversity. Today, in fact, it is possible to get lost among paths that, like thin veins, cross forests of poplars, holm oaks, pines and ash trees; admire the colors of sea soldanella and hibiscus; look at herons that calmly glide over the waters or gray cranes that doze, regardless of the nature that never sleeps around them.

The Tenuta di Migliarino, in the municipality of Vecchiano and that of San Rossore, in that of Pisa constitute the heart of this naturalistic wealth. Migliarino extends to Marina di Vecchiano, a long free beach (interrupted by three small equipped spaces that use strictly natural materials) sandy and wild which laps from the mouth of the Serchio laps Torre del Lago Puccini. Here a dune system of great interest extends, in which halophytes and halotolerants grow, which are not present in other areas of the park due to the erosion of the coast. The municipality of Vecchiano, together with the University of Pisa, wanted to emphasize the importance of this biodiversity by promoting a unique botanical garden project, that is, an artificial dune that can be visited for educational purposes.

The extension and the consequent variety of landscapes are peculiarities that attract visitors from the most diverse desires: contemplatives and lovers of the sunset on the sea can participate in summer excursions on pristine coasts while sports enthusiasts will not miss long rides in the pine forests of San Rossore or maybe they want to get to know the landlord of these lands better, the horse. In fact, there are six equestrian centers that offer excursions in the company of gentle quadrupeds, which slowly cradle to the innermost woods.

The park hosts two WWF oases: the Dunes of Tirrenia and the Bosco di Cornacchiaia which organize walks and many activities.

Photos: Marina di Vecchiano

CHILDREN

A classroom with the sky on the ceiling, the stage of emotions

Despite the restrictions, children can also participate in the camps in the park this year.

The Equitiamo riding school, immersed in the San Rossore estate in the Sterpaia area, has already started operations and offers a green open-air classroom. Environmental education lessons are held in a large green meadow, plus walks in the mysterious natural environments of San Rossore and the stage of emotions where children tell their companions the sensations on the days lived in contact with nature and animals , first of all the ponies. Trips with your bike are also scheduled, which is properly sanitized by the organizers.

The camp is suitable for children aged 6 to 11.

Information and registration: t. +39 338 7887229valeria.gambogi@virgilio.it

The solar field organized by the Lipu Oasis on the San Rossore estate is called Adventure in the Park, which alternates naturalistic laboratory activities with sustainable excursions in the most significant areas of the Park, from canoe trips on the lake to bicycle excursions in the immense forests of San Rossore, until the discovery of the wildest beaches, to end the week with an activity dedicated to environmental volunteering where children can reflect on the meaning of taking care of the environment in which we live.

For information and registration: t. +39 0584 975567 – oasi.massaciuccoli@lipu.it

Landscapes photos

On the Gombo beach to observe the sea

The natural beach of Gombo, with its dunes and the view of the petrified forest, becomes the protagonist of a new excursion, on an experimental basis, which adds to the numerous guided tours organized in the Park of Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli.

The heliotherapeutic activity of the ‘Buca del Mare’, managed by the San Rossore Recreational Club, restarts with renewed structures in wood and natural materials and with the novelty of the guided tour every day until 13 September, with 15 umbrellas available from Monday on Friday and 10 on weekends.

It starts from Cascine Vecchie with a vehicle made available by the Visitor Center and the arrival at the natural beach in the area called ‘La buca del mare’, where you can stay under an umbrella, sunbathe and enjoy the beauty of the beach, respecting the environment and the bathing ban.

Reservations: t. 050 530101

Price: 30 euros (transfer and umbrella)

Participants must comply with the antiCovid security provisions.

Excursions, guided tours, bike rental and the electric train

Carriage ride, heliotherapy on the beach, bike rides along the paths of the estate. Just rent a bicycle or a bicycle / wheelchair, or explore the park on board a horse-drawn carriage pulled by strong TPR horses. Saturday and Sunday the tour is available with the electric train through the woods and pine forests of the estate with arrival to the sea. Departure at 8.30, 9.30, 10.30, 11.30 from the parking in via Pietrasantina.

The service is free, upon reservation until seats are exhausted.

Reservations: t. 050 530101

Worship and culture. The basilica of San Piero in Grado

Tradition has it that Saint Peter landed here, coming from Palestine and heading to Rome, in 44 AD. The column with the marble top used as an altar during the mass celebrated by the founder of the Christian Church is still preserved in the apse. Noteworthy are the frescoes by the Lucca painter Deodato Orlandi depicting the first Christian popes. The splendid Romanesque complex in tuff and white marble is embellished with elegant ceramic decorations dating back to the 10th century AD, depicting boats or simple geometric motifs.

Info: 050 960065

Photo Pisa

There should be no need for many presentations but in the photo on the left the famous leaning tower of Pisa and on the right the Duomo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

The Alsmeer flower market: the largest floral auction in the world

An ancient local proverb states: “God created the whole world, but not Holland.”

This country was created directly by the Dutch. And this is what a tourist who visits this state notes: a vast “low land” that has been shaped by the temperament of the inhabitants of this state, which is known worldwide for its flowers, especially the tulip, the best known flower among those that are grown in Holland


Aalsmeer and Amsterdam
Aalsmeer is a Dutch city well known above all for its large flower auctions. And it is well known that flowers are an undisputed emblem of the Netherlands. Located just 13 kilometers south-west of Amsterdam, this city is an excellent destination for venturing out on an excursion either alone or in company.

The territory of Aalsmeer borders on that of the Westeinderplassen lakes, which is the largest body of water in the Randstad region (which extends into South Holland, North Holland, Flevoland and the Utrecht area. The territory of Aalsmeet it is also marked by the Ringvaart channel.

Amsterdam, on the other hand, does not require too many presentations: a rich city suitable for every type of tourist, where you can visit any type of attraction starting from the many museums or maybe some food tours, canal tours, perfect for admiring the city from a unique position to take photos to instagram and share on social networks, or simply a bike ride through the cycle paths that the whole world envies Holland

A bit of history

The history of Aalsmeer’s floral tradition is still a matter to be deciphered, because it is not something that was decided at the table, but it was mainly a question of circumstances, something truly fortuitous.

Aalsmeer was nothing more than a seaport and has been since its origins in the 12th century. However, the need to protect the land from the sea, to eliminate the dangers coming from the icy North Sea, which is very threatening in so low and easily flooded lands, meant that in 1852 a polder was started. From that moment, the inhabitants of the city no longer saw the waves of the North Sea.

Fishermen became strawberry growers, until the price of the flowers convinced them that their future lay in the different varieties of plants that could be grown on their land. In 1880, therefore, the cultivation of flowers began in Aalsmeer.

Initially, sales were made in Aalsmeer’s cafes. However, over time the volume of business began to be so high that the sales system in cafes was no longer sufficient. Thus, it became a necessity to manage sales in specific places and two companies centralized all the local flower trade, which over time went to Amsterdam.

In 1968, the two companies merged into one and in 1972 the large flower market opened which made Aalsmeer famous all over the world. A scenery that was expanded in 1999, reaching a total of one million square meters of surface. This market is well connected to Schipol international airport. Aalsmeer, then, is located a few kilometers from the capital Amsterdam, in one of the most fascinating areas in the world.

The Aalsmeer flower market

The Aalsmeer flower market is certainly one of the most popular and visited in the world. Every day, around 20 million flowers are bought and sold here. In this market, visitors are also welcome, even if they are required to respect very strict rules: they must arrive at a certain time (early in the morning) and can observe what occurs inside the place only from some walkways, which they are located several meters above the flowers and the crowded warehouse floor where various mini-trains run around for the transport of goods, at an astonishing speed.

Among other things, visitors do not approach the flowers and cannot even touch them. The aspect that most interests tourists visiting the Aalsmeer flower market is seeing the logistics in action, rather than admiring the flowers up close, despite the fact that they come from all over the world.

What to see at the Alsmeer flower market

One of the most interesting moments of the flower market is the auction of the same. This is held every day of the week and around 20 million decorative flowers and plants are auctioned. Just think that over 12 billion flowers and plants are sold every year. This huge building is really big. It has an area of 518,000 m² and an area of 990,000 m². This alone makes this market the fourth largest building in the world.

Within this place the activity is chaotic. A very large number of small trains contain flowers and plants and are moved by electric trucks or automatic tracks. It is a real system (equipped with a real road code to regulate it) that allows the various wagons to be moved on the basis of a real timetable.

The auction remains open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7.00 in the morning and can be held until 11.00.

A phenomenon connected to this famous market is that which occurs once a year, exactly on the first Saturday of September, when a long parade of allegorical floats decorated with over a million flowers takes place, marching from Aalsmeer to Dam Square in Amsterdam.

Where, how, when

-Official website

-Train from Schipol Airport to Amsterdam

 

Cycling between tulips, beaches and dunes. How to discover Holland and the bulb region.

Is there really a cycle path that contains 4 unique elements such as the plain, the flowers, the sea and some monuments?
If you are looking for something like this and maybe with family or friends you cannot agree on what type of route to choose, perhaps the bollenstreek, also known as the region of the bulbs, could be right for you.
Here there is a path of almost 30 km to be done by bike that starts from the sea, crosses the dunes of the Dutch coast and gets lost in the flowery fields both in spring and summer. Typical Dutch villages, small towns, museums, castles, monuments and much more along a route suitable for all types of cyclists.

Let’s start by saying that if you love these places but don’t have too much desire to spend time organizing the choice of the route or maybe even worrying about the bike rental, there are some organized tours such as the flower tour (by bike and walk) that allows to discover the colorful flowerfields around Keukenhof and an audio guided tour through the tulip fields including bike rental in Lisse of about 10 km, during which you can admire the colorful fields around the Keukenhof park .

If instead you prefer the bollenstreek route and maybe you want to keep some extra excursions for the following days, here is the famous bollenstreek cycle path:
It starts from Noordwijkerhout (1), a typically flourishing Dutch village from which you can reach the equally typical coastal dunes (2) that embrace the sea. Here we have chosen an arrival point (or passage) where a panoramic parking for bikes is indicated on the map, however the cycle paths along the sea, between trees and infinite paths, are in typical Dutch style. The biggest risk you run is to lose yourself!
Respect the highway code and enjoy the landscape.

Noordwijk and its dunes
Noordwijk and its dunes

The third stage takes us to a truly suggestive place, always in the dunes and always on the sea. Langevelderslag Beach (3) is a truly divine place. If you love photography, maybe take advantage of the quieter hours to take unique and truly suggestive photos.

The fourth stop is the park of Het Langeveld (4). It is said that, especially at the end of the day, many deer and a few foxes can often be seen walking and grazing quietly in the park. Don’t disturb the animals and maybe take advantage of it to take some nice pictures of the wild nature.

From this moment on, we put the beaches behind us and enter the heart of the flowery Dutch plain. In spring, tulips bloom endlessly and maybe even daffodils or hyacinths, in summer it will be easier for you to come across some dahlia cultivation, for example.

Tulips flowerfields in  Lisse, Holland
Tulips flowerfields in Lisse, Holland

The 5th stage (optional) takes us to the border between Hillegom and Lisse, through the flat Dutch cycle paths. One (5) Show Garden (FBT Showtuin), where you can also find flowers and plants to buy, is located among the endless Dutch fields on the way to Keukenhof (6), our next stop. Here, if you want you can spend a whole day so plan your itinerary well according to the duration of your holiday, also taking into account that, in general, the Keukenhof park remains open in the period between March and May.

The gardens of Keukenhof Castle (7) are located opposite the famous floral park. The estate consists of several gardens, including a dahlia garden in the summer months. The LAM museum is inside the estate and you can also find a zoo. Entrance and parking are free.

Dahlias in bloom in the gardens of Keukenhof Castle
Dahlias in bloom in the gardens of Keukenhof Castle

Continuing between the cycle paths n ° 29 and 91, you arrive in the center of Lisse (8), the small town where there are shops, restaurants with flower menus and also a tulip museum, a tourist office and some hotels.
In Lisse do not forget to visit the church of Sant’Agata (Sint Agathakerk), called the cathedral of the region of the bulbs. Built in 1903 it was designed by Jean H. van Groenendaal and is co-financed by bulb growers, who can be seen in the designs with bulb flowers on the walls of the church itself.

The 9th stage of our cycling tour takes us to the T Huys Dever (9),
built shortly after 1375, a so-called residential tower, also known as “donjon”. In the coastal region, Dever is the only surviving keep. After a period of decline, a group of friends decided to rebuild “De Huys Dever”. Anyone who visits it now finds itself in a medieval fairy tale!
‘T Huys Dever can be visited for free from Wednesday to Sunday from 14:00 to 17:00.

De Huys Dever
De Huys Dever     peter van der Wielen / CC BY-SA 3.0 NL

In the middle of the fields in bloom we arrive at the 10th and final destination: a typically Dutch greenhouse surrounded by infinite and endless colors. De Tulperij flower bulb nursery, (10) is our last stop before returning to the departure or perhaps before returning to the airport after returning the bike.

The extra tour

If you are not satisfied with what you have seen or are seeing and you want to take some extra satisfaction, this territory has a lot to offer from every point of view, for this you can always consider the idea of exploring the flower fields in an extravagant and alternative such as a flowerfield experience with electric vehicles, or the possibility of crossing the flowery fields with small three-seater electric Renault equipped with GPS, from which you can admire the spectacle of the Dutch landscape without laboring in the least, staying in small groups.

If, on the other hand, you want to exaggerate and take home or share incredible photos on social networks, a helicopter flight over the flower fields can be a unique opportunity to admire and tell a divine place.

You like flowers but do you prefer tastings? Between a tour and  another, you could devote yourself to some gastronomic tour, perhaps tasting Dutch cheeses, good wine or the famous Heineken Beer directly from the factory.

Have a good trip and a good holiday!


The tour map with departure and arrival from Noordwijkerhout
28.8 Km total

The stops in brief:

  1. Noordwijkerhout
  2. Fietsenstalling (bike parking in the dunes of Noordwijk)
  3. Lengevelderslag beach
  4. Het Langeveld Park
  5. (Not listed on the map) FBT showtuin
  6. Keukenhof
  7. Gardens of Keukenhof Castel
  8. Lisse
  9. T Huys Dever
  10. De Tulperij Bulb Flower nursey

Flowery itinerary of Amsterdam and surroundings

When we think of Amsterdam and Holland, in addition to all the attractions that this country has to offer, we immediately imagine immense colored tulips and bicycles with which to travel every corner of the country.

The spring season can be the best one to admire both the infinite tulip fields in the bulb region but also to enjoy Amsterdam full of colorful flowers, thus having the opportunity to organize a trip with a double meaning: the floral and the cultural one.

Our itinerary

Suppose you arrive at Schiphol, the main airport in Amsterdam and all over the Netherlands. From here you can take the train to Amsterdam and go to your hotel / hostel / B&B.

One of the most visited floral attractions in Amsterdam is certainly the bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market, which we talked about in this article.

While you are on Sigel, one of the many canals in Amsterdam, you can take the opportunity to incorporate a visit to one of the museums of the day into the day: a good option could be that of the Rijkmuseum, to which you can perhaps attach a  litte cruise on the canals to admire the many flowers exposed balconies style along the way.

Continuing along the canal, beer lovers cannot miss the Heineken Experience at the homonymous beer factory.

From here it would be a good idea to go to the Van Gogh Museum, another unmissable “monument” in the city dedicated to the Dutch painter famous all over the world, to then reach our flowery destination: the Vondelpark.

The Vondelpark of Amsterdam
The Vondelpark of Amsterdam

In the high season you might find this park a little “crowded”, but given the Dutch style, the flower beds and flowers in spring should not lack color or charm.


Itinery from Bloemenmarkt to Vondelpark

Up to now we have traveled about 5 km by bicycle (if the weather is nice in Holland it may be the best way to move), but from now on the distances increase a bit so see if you can organize yourself with the same means or opt for other.
The flower market of Aalsmeer is without a doubt the largest, well-stocked and organized flower market in the world, the protagonist of the shipment and distribution of flowers all over the planet. Consider that, for logistical reasons, the market is located near Schiphol airport, therefore outside the city.

View of Haarlem during the passage of the wagons of the Bloemencorso
View of Haarlem during the passage of the wagons of the Bloemencorso

The next stop is a must among Dutch floral cities. Haarlem, in fact, a cute town located between the Dutch coast and Amsterdam, is also the final stop of the famous bloemencorso, the floral parade that passes through the region of flower bulbs in late April. Here, in Grote Mark, the town square, all flower floats stop, waiting to be “judged” and rewarded at the end of the parade.

In any case, always between March and May, Haarlem is undoubtedly one of the best cities to stop to organize a visit to Keukenhof, the flowery park that you can not miss for any reason in the world.
A tip: book everything well in advance if possible because here hotels, flights and excursions end quickly.
The bloemencorso already has the dates scheduled for the next 2 or 3 years and, considering that the streets will be blocked for several hours, fans in general on the days of the parade, tend to stop in the neighboring cities in order not to risk being stuck in traffic.

The colors of Keukenhof
The colors of Keukenhof

Keukenhof park is a unique attraction that all flower and non-flower lovers should visit at least once in their lifetime. It is no coincidence that millions of visitors from every corner of the earth come here every year to admire the work of Dutch gardeners between March and May.

Tulips, daffodils, orchids, roses, hyacinths, muscari and incredible mixes created to inspire the visitor color the park nestled among thousands of hectares of blooming tulip fields.
If you have the time and the opportunity, you can take advantage of the numerous excursions among the colored fields that give the opportunity to admire this spectacle of nature up close and take home or share social images unique in the world.

It starts from the bike or walking tours along  the tulip fields, which give the opportunity to cross the fields with strategic points and an audio guide describing the route, up to a tour of the tulips tour with an electric scooter or even if you want to stay small groups and want to admire the tulip fields without losing the comfort of the car, you can opt for a flowerfield  experience with small elecritc vehicle with GPS and audioguide.

Tulip fields in Lisse, Holland
Tulip fields in Lisse, Holland

Now, the name of Lisse is generally associated with the Keukenhof park, but if you try to set the navigator on this village, the greatest risk you run is to get lost among infinite and colorful cultivations of tulips.
There is however a museum dedicated to the tulip which can be a pleasant attraction for fans.
Here we are in the heart of the flower bulb region, better known as the Bollenstreek. a vast area ranging from the coast made of dune beaches to the plains cultivated with bulb flowers where you will find enchanting Dutch-style villages and many colorful windmills.
A sensational idea to admire the show from a different perspective would be to book a helicopter flight over the tulip fields and enrich your personal photo library to share with friends on social networks. The view of the fields from above is something unique and extraordinary that has no equal in the world!

The unique charm of the Dutch coast
The unique charm of the Dutch coast

From this point the advice is to rent the bike for a day at least and maybe organize a stop at the sea in the dunes of Noordwijk am zee.
We state that the Bloemencorso in April makes a first night tour through the streets of Noordwjikerhout and then the morning of the real parade from Noordwjik starts, therefore the idea of being in the area gives the opportunity to attend a unique event both at night that during the day,

But not only that, because from Noordwjik am zee a real cycling route starts that takes you to Keukenhof through colored fields. The itinerary , of ca. 12.5 km, provides for the departure from the lighthouse and the arrival at the Keukenhof park, but even more beautiful, you can check the state of the flowering of the fields with this floral radar and vary the itinerary as you like by following your favorite colors and blooms.

At this point, full of colors, flowers and maybe some typical local cheese, you can go back to Amsterdam or go directly to Schiphol where you can fly home with many good memories, fantastic photos and maybe some rare bulbs to plant on the balcony or in the garden once back.


Itinerary from Aalsmeer flower market to Nordwjik am zee

Palmengarten: the botanical garden of Frankfurt

When you visit a city like Frankfurt, you immediately think of the banks, the skyscrapers, the tall buildings and the great German productivity and organization that is perceived here almost everywhere.
If you then come across an equally well maintained and quality botanical garden like this, then a visit to this city is more than justified.

We arrive here at the Palmengarten early in the morning, about an hour after the opening and already, waiting for us, there is a bit of a queue outside the entrance, a sign that the garden is an important attraction, especially on beautiful summer days.
The type of visitor is really very varied: it starts from the 70/80 year old lady looking for relaxation who is sitting on the bench among the rose beds or by the group of retired tourists, passing by the young couple, up to dozens and dozens of children (lots of them!) who emerge from every plant and let themselves be captured by the colors of the flowers.

The palms garden
The palms garden

Age apart, the common denominator among garden visitors is courtesy. Kindness and good manners seem to be dictated by the rhythms of nature that reign supreme here.
Everyone observes, walks and photographs without hindering or disturbing others. Children included.
And so, while crossing the greenhouses and the different climates, so many types of flowers, plants and different species (mostly of tropical origin) flow pleasantly, which we would hardly be able to see in their original state.
Not to forget the spaces dedicated to temporary exhibitions, where you can also buy natural products and the space dedicated to the palm garden.
In the outdoor area, in addition to many flower beds with roses, lavender, multicolored flowers, green lawns, aquatic flowers and many trees to relax under, there is also a band that plays for the pleasure of the public and nature.

Where , How, When

The palmengarten is open from 9am to 6pm from February to October, while from November to January it opens from 9am to 4pm.
Entry prices are:
Adults: 7 euros
Children from 6 to 13 years: 2 euros
Reduced rate (1) € 3.00
Small Familycard (1 adult and child up to 6 years up to 13) € 9.00
Big Familycard (2 adults and children up to 6 years up to 13 years) € 16.00
Elderly 65+ € 6.00
GdB (Global Burden Disease) 50+ € 6.00
GdB 80+, wheelchair user, blind user: free
(1) Student, student, apprentice (up to the age of 25); young people aged between 14 and 17 years

For more detailed info:
https://www.palmengarten.de

Echinops Ritro: the globe thisle

Echinops Ritro, known as globe thistle, is a perennial plant, which is characterized by the spherical shape of its inflorescences, which recall the typical appearance of a hedgehog. The name of this extraordinary plant comes from the Greek language Echinos, which means precisely porcupine, due to its roundish features and its thin inflorescences, like thorns. Echinops Ritro is a plant that can easily be found in several countries of southern Europe and western Asia. In Italy it is widespread throughout the territory, from north to south, including the areas of the western Alps. The plant belongs to the Asterceae family, can reach a maximum height of about 80 cm, the stem is long and embellished with rare and alternate leaves with a dentate margin, the upper part is dark green and has a smooth consistency. front of white color has a rough layer. Echinops Ritro flowers, called flower heads, are small and have a delightful metallic blue hue.

Cultivation

Echinops Ritro is a decidedly rustic plant, which does not provide a sophisticated cultivation methodology, grows in any type of soil, in arid and stony places and even in uncultivated areas. It can also grow in considerable heights, up to 1,500 m.s.l.m. it resists well at temperatures that drop just below zero degrees. The only precaution to use when planting an Echinops Ritro is to implant it in a well exposed to the sun and very deep, its roots are indeed very long. It is also a plant suitable for those who do not have the so-called green thumb, since Echinops Ritro does not require much water or recurring fertilizations, an organic is sufficient during sowing. The planting must be performed in March or October, while the arrival of autumn will need to cut the stem at the base, to allow the plant to make an excellent vegetative rest.

Diseases and cures

Being a very rustic plant, it is not subject to any kind of particular diseases, the only problems that could be found, are the attacks carried out by fungi, in particular the powdery mildew. This fungus develops due to high humidity, causing yellowing of the leaves and the appearance of black spots. Once hit, the plant must be washed thoroughly with abundant water and then treated with homemade baking preparations of bicarbonate or vinegar.

Curiosity

Echinops Ritro is a very old plant, its origins probably date back to around 1500, when it was used to decorate and decorate public and private gardens. The plant was given an important medicinal capacity, it was dissolved in warm water and taken to fight inflammation. Many women in the past drank Echinops Ritro infusions to increase breast milk immediately after the birth of children.

Nong Nooch Gardens: the incredible Thai gardens

Nong Nooch Gardens: what are they?

In Thailand, in the province of Chonburi, precisely between the resorts of Pattaya and Sattahip, there are the Nong Nooch Gardens, wonderful tropical gardens including numerous species of ornamental plants and a vast assortment of floral plants, all belonging to the native flora.
It is a real tourist attraction, fully equipped to accommodate a large audience of visitors, consisting of restaurants, bars, spaces usable for lunches or parties, and residential housing. There is also a large swimming pool.
This structure was opened to the public in 1980, and immediately distinguished itself not only as a scenic and naturalistic attraction (it is in fact home to a world botanical center, with the largest natural collection of palms and orchids throughout Thailand), but also for the daily shows with elephants, and above all for cultural attractions of various kinds. In this regard, the Dinosaur Valley, a historical reconstruction of the ancient geological eras when the territory was populated by dinosaurs, represents an absolute novelty in this area, for the life-size reconstruction of some of the most studied dinosaurs of the Cretaceous and Jurassic period, among which the Triceratops and the Tirranosaurus Rex.
Accanto a queste attrattive, i Giardini ospitano numerosi esemplari appartenenti alla fauna selvatica indigena. Per tali motivi, i Nong Nooch Gardens svolgono innumerevoli attività di ricerca, di divulgazione e di educazione scientifica rivolte al pubblico di ogni età, che ogni giorno si reca in visita ai giardini (sono circa 5000 le presenze quotidiane).

 

Nong Nooch Gardens: a bit of history

In 1954, Mr. Pisit and his wife, Mrs. Nongnooch Tansacha, going to Thailand, were struck by the beauty of a vast plot of land (about 600 hectares), located twenty kilometers from
Pattaya, and bought it with the intent of turning it into a plantation of fruit trees (coconuts, mangoes and oranges). Subsequently, Mrs. Nongnooch preferred to use the vast plot of land to grow ornamental plants and flowers of all kinds, and recreate the atmosphere of some of the wonderful gardens she had visited, during her many travels around the world.
From this initial project, the current Gardens were born, which were named with the name of its founder.

 

Main present and attractive species of the gardens

This place of incredible charm, rightly considered one of the ten wonders of the world, is certainly one of the most original natural parks in the world; here you can admire numerous species of tropical plants, such as:
– orchids
– agave
– bromeliacee
– adenium
– palms
– ginger
– passionflower
– cactus
– plants of New Caledonia
– bonsai of various kinds

The area for the public is divided into various sections, namely:
– French Garden
– European Garden
– Stonehenge Garden
– Variegated Plants
– Cactus and Succulent Garden
– Ant Tower
– Butterfly Hill
– Orchid and Bromelia Display Garden
– Flower Valley

Even the Garden of pink flamingos and butterflies are a sensational attraction, without forgetting the presence of a beautiful Renaissance garden in Italian style, which houses many marble statues imported directly from Italy. There is also the famous Caribbean Walk, a walkway that winds between palm trees and plants from the Caribbean.
The beauty of these natural corners can also be admired from above, due to the presence of some suspended bridges and panoramic terraces.

 

Nong Nooch Gardens: curiosity

One of the most original features of this natural park is represented by the presence of many carved hedges, which depict the silhouettes of animals or other characteristic subjects. There are also pagodas and residences in typical Thai style, which you can visit.
A trip to the Nongnooch Gardens can not neglect the participation in the picturesque religious services, the martial arts demonstrations, the Thai massage sessions and, above all, the elephant shows that probably represent the most typical attraction of the whole structure.

Where, how, when

The Nong Nooch Gardens are located at

34/1 Moo 7 Najomtien District, Sattahip.
The opening hours, except variations are:
For the park, every day from 8 am to 6 pm.
For the restaurant open up to 10 pm, 365 days a year, including holidays.
The shows are held at the following times:

Show 1: 10: 30-11: 30
Show 2: 13: 30-14: 30
Show 3: 15: 30-16: 30
Show 4: 16: 30-17: 30

For all other info: http://www.nongnoochtropicalgarden.com/