Thursday, May 15, 2014

Early Or Late

The Canadian Tulip Festival dates back to the aftermath of the Second World War, when the Dutch Royal Family and government began an annual tradition of sending tulips to Canada in thanks for the liberation of the Netherlands. In 1953, the festival was organized for the first time as a formal display thanks to the landscape photographer Malak Karsh and other supporters. It is a popular festival, drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year in May to view the tulip beds in various parts of Ottawa and Gatineau, a rich variety of colour.

Commissioner's Park at Dow's Lake is one of the biggest tulip sites. These beds of tulips are inevitably the first to blossom each year, and this was the case again this year, though they were running quite late. I photographed them a few days ago.

I found myself wondering if these bulbs were quite ready.

Aside from the tulips here, daffodils also grow in a couple of locations in the park.

The difference is that they're not in a flowerbed- they spring out of the grass.

I'll leave off today with the first of these panels, which form a semi-circle elsewhere in the park. They tell the story of the festival and the connections between Canada and the Netherlands that rose out of the War. Just click on it for a larger version, and the text should be readable.


  1. Well at least those ashes left something beautiful here!

  2. "For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils."
    (William Wordsworth would have loved your tulips, too)

    Spring bulbs were about three weeks ahead around here.

  3. This is a beautiful event. I can't wait to see more!

  4. I would LOVE to see this in person!

  5. Linda: they are!

    Ciel: they are a beautiful legacy.

    Merisi: that is just the right poem.

    Halcyon: much more to come.

    EG: I recommend doing so in mid week when the crowds are less.

    Tanya: it sure is.

  6. Lovely!
    A friend's brother in law died liberating a town in Holland,the Dutch named a street after him. So gracious.
    Jane x

  7. I knew nothing of this! It's wonderful - all those tulips and daffodils. And what a great setting - that park is a municipal paradise!

  8. Tulips and daffodils! I would be in heaven.

  9. The first blooms of the season---wonderful. They are so pretty and colorful. As you know we have a tulip festival out this way--it is in April and the blooms start in March.
    Sometimes it is had to believe we are on the same planet. LOL More Tulip pics please. Ours are all gone now. Bulbs to be dug in June. MB

  10. so pretty! i love the color in the 2nd shot. :)

  11. I'd love to walk around here with my camera in my hand.

  12. My favorite flower. Thank you William for this lovely post. Those buds look glamorous and eager to bloom!

  13. @Jane and Chris: very gracious.

    @Luis: I quite agree.

    @Lowell: it is.

    @Lois: I'm pleased to present them in this fashion.

    @MB: I've already been taking a lot of pics! I'll no doubt be going into June with these.

    @Tex: thanks!

    @Sharon: many people do!

    @Eve: tulips are my favourite too.

  14. Didn't know Canada had a tulip festival! I really need want to travel up there now!

  15. Good to know there is a tulip festival in Canada, I see them rarely around here.

  16. Wonderful shots, William, it really feels like walking in a Dutch park. It's great you can enjoy this beautiful show with tulips and daffodils this way. And I van assure you the Canadian liberators are in our hearts each year when we celibrate the liberation. In fact my hometown was liberated by Canadians too.

  17. Super photos William and what a wonderful tradition and a way of thanking a whole nation. So glad you shared this today.

  18. They're stunning, aren't they? And how special that they have such meaning behind them. I wonder if anyone sent something to the U.S.?

  19. Flowers everywhere, Spring is so beautiful !
    I like tulips, lovely photos, William !

  20. I was in Canada once, this giant park. Filled, filled, filled with tulips. It was long ago when the world was flat, but I never forgot. Only wish I'd had a camera back then.

    Cheers and boogie boogie.

  21. The tulips are most certainly worth waiting for. They're beautiful!

  22. As you well know, I really love tulips... and these beds are fabulous !

  23. These are gorgeous and have a wonderful story. It looks like you still have a couple of weeks to enjoy them. There are vast commercial fields of tulips north of Seattle in the Skagit Valley and they host a tulip festival in April every year. In late March, early April there are great swaths of daffodils, then the tulips come. The timing varies here, too, but the tulips are usually finished off in late April.

  24. Lovely post and photos ! My Tulips have bloomed but sadly just the leaves of my Daffs are viable no blooms ! but all the wild flowers are blooming and this long weekend is a gardeners delight for planting either flowers or veggies for the season ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good long weekend !

  25. I would love to pay a visit there and walk around. Lovely photo's!

  26. @Cheryl: it's lovely up here this time of year.

    @VP: it's become a wonderful tradition.

    @Jan: My family's from Dutch stock, so we were brought up with great respect for the Canadian soldiers of that time.

    @Denise: thank you!

    @Christine: I have no idea. I do know that around Grand Rapids there's a place that has a very Dutch feel to it, with tulips no doubt this time of year.

    @Karl: thank you!

    @Whisk: it seems with tulips I can never take too many pictures.

  27. @Norma: I love seeing them out and about.

    @Stuart: and there's a lot more to come!

    @Kay: they're a few days behind, more than a week, this year. Normally the upcoming weekend would be a fading weekend. Instead they're really coming into their own.

    @Country Gal: thank you!

    @Marleen: thanks!

  28. Everything is late this year! Apparently down here they think the cherry blossoms are about 5 weeks late.

  29. Lovely tulips. I'd have to buy the bulbs, put them in my freezer, plant in the spring, dig them up after blooming, and put back in the freezer. A task I did in Phoenix. Now I just look at your lovely photos.

  30. What cheering sights! Thank You
    "Karsh of Ottawa" was such a well respected photog. Haven't heard his name in far too long.

    ALOHA from Honolulu

  31. Love it! I'd love to see it!

  32. Fields of flowers always make me smile. Thanks for getting these photos to share with us, William.

  33. You brought back many good memories with the flowers and the poem! Both photographs and poem fit well together.

  34. I like that green sculpture a lot!

  35. @RedPat: our blossoms were late this year as well.

    @Mari: it's a pleasure to show them.

    @Cloudia: the two Karsh brothers were magnificent in their work.

    @Judy: thank you!

    @Lynette: you're welcome!

    @Kate: thank you!

    @Sharon: thanks!