Hello to you all. My name is Jeff de Jong. I have worked in the Horticulture Community for most of my adult life, instruct Adult Education classes at the University of Victoria, and speak to gardening groups, clubs and organizations across Canada and the USA.

I’m thrilled to be hosting a floral-inspired trip to the Netherlands in April 2022.
The Netherlands is a country where the glass is half full with more than half the land below sea level and 17% of the land is reclaimed land from the ocean. As we travel, we’ll see some of the most interesting and beautiful examples of what happens when flowers and floods come together.

Floriade Expo

Floriade Expo

Floriade Expo
Once every decade the Netherlands hosts the World’s Fair of Horticulture called Floriade. The theme of the exhibition in 2022 is “Growing Green Cities.” The 150-acre site of the Floriade is on land reclaimed from the sea near the city of Almere close to Amsterdam. Over thirty exhibitors from around the world will be participating; this living growing community is embracing a new GREEN world and there will be so much to learn about adapting to our changing environment as we spend a full day here. The entire area will become a residential site after the Floriade is finished.

Het Loo

A Royal Palace need not remain a building that is only for a very few. Queen Wilhelmina gifted the Netherlands with Het Loo, changing this incredible home and garden from a private estate to a public treasure.

The Dutch honour their past with respect and all the while realise that they must embrace the future. We will be visiting an outstanding Baroque style palace which was built for William III and his wife as a summer residence in 1686. The Dutch Royal Family lived in the palace off and on until the 1960s when Queen Wilhelmina willed Het Loo to the country. The palace and gardens would be open as a museum but if the Netherlands chose to abolish the monarchy, the ownership would be returned to the Royal Dutch Family. We’ll visit this magnificent museum and admire the sumptuous decorations inside and the stunning gardens which have recently been restored to recreate the 1684 garden.
Portrait of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (1880-1962), 1901
Portrait of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (1880-1962), 1901

Once a status symbol Tulipa gestneriana, the Garden Tulip, coveted by only the extremely wealthy the tulip is now a flower enjoyed around the world through production, propagation, and determination.

The tulip arrived in Europe via the Sultan of Turkey in 1554. It was a plant unknown to Europeans until that time. Carl Linnaeus trialed the bulb at The University of Leiden. The bulbs tolerated the soil and climate conditions but more importantly the intense petal colour made the tulip highly desirable.

Portrait of Queen Eleonora Wiśniowiecka with a tulip c. 1672
Portrait of Queen Eleonora Wiśniowiecka with a tulip c. 1672
It was the perfect storm. The Dutch economy was booming and Europe was introduced to a then rare and exquisite flower. By 1636 a single flower would fetch hundreds of guilders. The tulip was the fourth leading export after gin, herring, and cheese. People in Holland were swept up in a speculative fever, spending vast sums on rare bulbs in the hopes of reselling for a fortune.
April colours in North Holland photo credit Hans A. Rosbach
 April colours in North Holland
(Photo by: Hans A. Rosbach)

‘Tulipomania’ came to a sudden end with the crash in the tulip market in February 1637, but the love for the tulip continued. Today, around two million tulip bulbs are exported worldwide, making the tulip the most exported flower in the Netherlands.
Keukenhof gardens
We’ll be visiting Keukenhof, the renowned Spring Garden which is planted by hand in the autumn with over seven million bulbs. There are 800 varieties of tulips alone on display. For me, Keukenhof is the best flower garden in the world; it’s impossible to describe the beauty of this garden which changes every year as no planting plans are repeated. It has lots of places to sit and wonderful cafés too from where we can admire the plantings. Seeing the garden in full bloom will be a real thrill!


The citizens of the Netherlands are considered some of the happiest people in the world. It may be the fortitude of reclaiming land from the sea or the innovative approach to a changing climate. I think it also has a lot to do with the abundance of springtime floral displays which brings new energy as we move out of winter. Join me to discover the beauty of springtime Holland.

Dutch Gardens & The Floriade
April 22 - 30, 2022  |  Learn more

UPDATE: On October 8, Floriade revealed a sneak peek of the bridge built for the expo.
Floriade Expo 2022

"At Floriade Expo 2022 you can experience solutions to make cities greener and healthier. The newly opened Weerwater bridge is a good example of this. With its natural shape and blue asphalt, this sustainable bridge blends perfectly with the surrounding nature. After the Expo you can take a renewed tour along the Weerwater on foot or by bicycle over this bridge."