Tulips Are Blooming in Holland

Thanks to the very warm and sunny weather we've been having this spring, the tulips are blooming early in Holland. I've never had the opportunity to visit Holland during tulip-time and neither has D. So last Saturday, after our hunt for fruit tree blossoms in the St. Joseph and Coloma area, we made the 1 hr. drive from St. Joseph to Holland in search of blooming tulips.

It didn't take us long to find tulips. They were right there under the city's welcome sign.
I'd printed out the official Tulip Time Festival  brochure before we left for Holland so we had a map of the downtown area with us. We found the tulip-route in short order and discovered it had some nice blooming tulips.

If I'm being honest here, I have to admit I was a bit underwhelmed. I guess I'd seen one too many promos for the Tulip Time Festival showing what looks like acres of multi-colored tulips. The tulip route was certainly not that. It's just a row of tulips planted at the foot of each home owner's property along the 6-mile route. Pretty, but not awesome. 

Along the way, we came across Centennial Park. It's a very charming little park with several areas of tulip plantings. Each one was a different color. The color separation was common throughout the city. In fact, we had a hard time finding any beds of multi-colored tulips (not more than 2 colors anyway). Perhaps they bloom later.

These pinks were lovely. You can see we weren't the only ones out taking pictures of the flowers...
There's a lovely gazebo in the park. Notice the tulip bed in the foreground. Those tulips weren't blooming yet. My understanding is that early, middle, and late bloomers are planted to make sure there are some flowers blooming for the Tulip Time Festival regardless of the weather.
These pale yellow tulips were in full bloom and reminded me of fresh butter...
Someone got brave here and planted some deep purple pansies among these whites. It was a nice effect and made the whites seem even whiter.
Ahh, and then there were the reds. When the sun went behind the clouds they reminded me of dark red wine, but when the sunshine touched their petals they lit up like a stop-light beckoning all to stop and look at them!
These variegated beauties were rich in deep yellow and orange. Their bold colors were certainly eye catching!
I liked viewing the tulips from a distance, taking in several colors at once...
These were interesting... lavender with deep pink highlights. Very attention grabbing!
Across the street from the north end of the park is the Holland Museum. Isn't the welcoming banner cute?
After wandering around the park and taking loads of pictures, we got back in the car and went in search of more flowers. Just a short distance from the park is Hope College. I finally found my multi-colored flower beds! Yeah!
There was a nice variety of flowers at the Windmill Island Gardens. We wanted to tour the windmill but it was a walking tour. My back was pretty sore after walking around the park and getting up and down to photograph the tulips so we had to pass this time around.
We did get some nice pictures of the windmill though.
I couldn't resist grabbing a picture of this giant tulip sculpture in the downtown area. Now these were awesome tulips!
I'll leave you with a picture of the brightest and most intensely colored tulips we saw all day. They were outside the Holland City Hall. This picture doesn't do them justice (but I didn't want to saturate them). They were glaringly bright!
The 2010 Tulip Time Festival starts May 1st and if the weather is nice we may just make another trip up to Holland to check it out. I'd love to see the Dutch dancers in costume!