How I Ended up in Amsterdam: Tulips at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Just got back from Amsterdam last night! It was so much colder and rainier than I expected and made London seem positively balmy by contrast. Who knew that London could be sunnier and warmer than the alternative?

But before I write about the trip, I wanted to share the inspiration behind it.

If you follow this blog, you can probably tell that I love flowers. Three years ago around this time, I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York, which has a small but impressive tulip garden. I’d never imagined before that tulips could be so distinctive in color and shape. Some looked like origami flowers; others glowed like paper lanterns in the sunlight.

That night, I went home and ran a Google image search of tulips. I saw the flower fields in the Netherlands, where tulips are grown in stunning technicolor dreamcoat stripes for acres and acres. I knew then that someday I would absolutely have to go and see it for myself.

Photo source: The Daily Mail

I’ll post photos and descriptions of the Keukenhof Gardens in the next few days, but the basic word is that I prefer the BBG. The Keukenhof is no doubt amazing, with so many kinds of tulips and hyacinths arranged in lovely shapes and dazzling arrays of color. But the BBG has more variety in its landscaping, with dignified cedars, flowering magnolias, the cherry esplanade and the Japanese hill-and-pond garden, Shakespeare’s garden and the indoor pavilions. Love. The BBG also had the benefit of warmth and sunshine and flowers in full bloom, whereas it still felt like winter at the Keukenhof, and the tulips hadn’t quite yet shaken off the winter frost.

If you’re in New York, the BBG is absolutely a must-see! And I’m saying this having just gotten back from the Keukenhof, a world-famous botanical garden. I guess I do still have plenty of NYC pride left :) The fun thing about the BBG is that you can track whether the flowers are peaking. The cherry esplanade is in full bloom, folks!!! Go see it NOW.

A few of my favorite shots from the BBG:


Yellow magnolia tree

The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

The Tropical Pavilion

And of course, cherry blossoms.


10 thoughts on “How I Ended up in Amsterdam: Tulips at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    1. Haha thanks! I only take a backpack with me on my travels, so next time I’ll bring along an extra suitcase for you ;)

  1. So nice to have found your blog – a fellow flower follower, among other things. I’m looking forward to your photos of Keukenhof so I can compare (was never able to get to The Netherlands for spring), but as I read it, you feel the Brooklyn gardens are more like a garden, and Keukenhof more like an exhibition?

    1. That’s a great way of putting it! I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I think you may have hit the nail on the head. The Keukenhof is all about showing off the tulips and daffodils, but there’s not much variety to the garden otherwise. Which isn’t to say that it’s not worth seeing–I’m definitely glad I went!–but in a sense, it’s less interesting to photograph because there’s not much that makes one photo different from another. Thanks for the feedback–it’s helpful to organize my thoughts for the next post! :)

  2. Nice shots! I too love taking photos of flowers… last year we went to the Philippines and the place where we stayed had glorious tropical gardens with SO many varieties of flowers. I would stop and snap every few steps. My husband would be chatting away to ‘me’ only to turn and see me 100 m or more behind trying to get another shot :)

    1. Hahaha that’s awesome. I was solo on this trip so I had the luxury of dawdling as much as I wanted, but that often happens to me when I’m traveling with friends too!

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