I recently returned from a riverboat cruise on the Danube and Rhine rivers, traveling from Budapest to Amsterdam in Europe. I saw many lovely flowers in the villages and towns along the banks of the rivers.
Window boxes full of ivy-leaved geraniums were plentiful and some, especially those in the village of Durnstein, were spectacular against the walls of ancient stone buildings.
While in the Netherlands, I visited Amsterdam's Tulip Museum, which is near Anne Frank's house. There I learned more about the history of the tulip which originated in the highlands of Central Asia.
Nowadays, commercial growers chop off the blooms from their tulip plants so that they don't siphon off energy from the bulbs that will be sold to produce top quality flowers the subsequent year. Apparently, though it seems brutal to a flower lover, it is a commercial necessity.
Flying With Flowers
Last year when I was in Amsterdam I bought a ton of tulip bulbs at the downtown Flower Market. Since they were heavy to carry, I decided this year to buy my bulbs at the Airport.
I was careful to be sure that the ones I bought were clearly marked for export. However, when I went through the checkpoint prior to boarding my flight, I learned something from the Dutch official who inspected my hand luggage.
He smiled sympathetically when he saw how many bulbs I had and said: "Did you know that the bulbs sold at the airport shops are not the biggest or best? Next time order your Dutch bulbs from mail order catalogs in the USA. The quality of the bulbs is better and you don't have such a heavy burden to carry home!"