Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Early Blossoms in Southwest Michigan

Spring has come early to Michigan. This has been just about the warmest spring I can remember. We've had more days of blue skies and sunshine than is typical for this season and I've truly enjoyed it. D and I (mostly D ;-) have been working on our winter projects at the condo and we're wrapping those up now. We'll be finished by mid May. But we just had to take a day off to grab some pics of the beautiful blossoms in the area!

Last Saturday we started out taking just a few pics of the apple trees blooming in the orchard at Nye's Apple Barn in St. Joseph. They were a lovely deep pink and oh so pretty!
That just whet our appetites for more spring blooms! So off we went in search of more blossoming fruit trees. We drove to Coloma because I was hoping to get some pics of peach blossoms and after all, Coloma's famous for it's Glad-Peach Festival. Well, that didn't work out so well. I couldn't figure out which trees might be peach trees because they don't have leaves yet ;-) . We did find an orchard with trees in bloom with pretty white flowers. It turns out, they're cherry trees!
So we spent a few minutes taking orchard pictures there and then we drove off in search of more orchards. And boy did we find them! I should have taken some panorama pictures to capture the wide vista of rolling hills in full bloom but I didn't think of it. But here are a few pics of the lovely orchards of Coloma...



I'm looking forward to the Blossomtime Festival and Parade which will be held in St Joseph in a couple weeks. I hope the weather will be warm and sunny just like it was on Saturday when we were out taking these pics. I didn't get to the parade last year so this will be my first time.

After taking in all these beautiful fields of blooms you'd think we'd have been satisfied and headed back to the condo to work on our projects, but no, we weren't. We did return briefly to have a bit of lunch but then we headed off to Holland where the tulips are blooming early too!