Keukenhof – Garden of Europe

Keukenhof – Garden of Europe

Keukenhof (“Kitchen garden”, Dutch pronunciation: [ˈkøːkə(n)ˌɦɔf]), also known as the Garden of Europe, is the world’s largest flower garden. It is situated near Lisse, the Netherlands. According to the official website for the Keukenhof Park, approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually in the park, which covers an area of 32 hectares.

Keukenhof is located in South Holland in the small town of Lisse, south of Haarlem and southwest of Amsterdam. It is accessible by bus from the train stations of Haarlem, Leiden and Schiphol. It is located in an area called the “Dune and Bulb Region” (Duin- en Bollenstreek).
Keukenhof is open annually from mid-March to mid-May. The best time to view the tulips is around mid-April, depending on the weather.
Keukenhof is situated on 15th century hunting grounds. It was also a source of herbs for Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut’s castle, which is the source of the name Keukenhof (it served to provide herbs for the castle’s kitchen). Rich merchants took over the grounds after the Countess’s death. VOC captain and governor Adriaen Maertensz Block lived there in his retirement years in the 17th century in the country house (now known as Castle Keukenhof) which he had let built in 1641.
In the 19th century, the Baron and Baroness Van Pallandt assigned the landscape architect Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, who had also worked on the Vondelpark, to design the grounds around the castle.
The garden was established in 1949 by the then-mayor of Lisse. The idea was to present a flower exhibit where growers from all over the Netherlands and Europe could show off their hybrids – and help the Dutch export industry (the Netherlands is the world’s largest exporter of flowers).

Gardens of Keukenhof

The Keukenhof features a variety of different gardens and garden styles. For example, the English landscape garden features winding paths and unexpected see-through points (designed by Zocher in 1830, the garden architect of the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, among others). The historical garden is an enclosed garden where you can see many old types of bulbs. The nature garden consists of a water garden where shrubs and perennials are combined with bulbous plants. The Japanese country garden is a non-traditional garden in a natural environment.
The Keukenhof doesn’t contain the long fields of tulips many visitors expect. However, there are tulip fields outside the Garden (mostly privately owned). These fields may have restricted access and are not included as part of the Keukenhof ticket.

Opening times of Keukenhof

Keukenhof is scheduled to be open from 20 March to 18 May 2014.The Flower Parade will be held on Saturday, 3 May 2014.
The grounds of Castle Keukenhof are open all year long and are frequently used for festivals such as Castlefest, the Ladies Winternight,and the Christmas Fair. The castle also houses classical music performances.

Distinguished visitors

 Many dignitaries have visited the Keukenhof. Queen Juliana was a patron. Her daughters, princesses Beatrix, Irene and Margriet were among the first visitors in 1950. As a passionate filmmaker Prince Bernhard shot some unique films. Other members of the Dutch Royal Family also visited the Keukenhof. In 2001 prince Willem-Alexander and his girlfriend, Maxima, paid a visit to present themselves to the Dutch population. They planted a Tilla europea, the “Koningslinde”.
In the autumn of 2003, Prince Willem-Alexander, together with Olympic medal winners Ankie van Grunsven and Pieter van den Hoogenband, planted the symbolical first bulb for the Olympic rings.
In 2005 the park was opened by Princess Margriet.

Other information and Guided Tours to the Garden of Keukenhof

Make the visit of your group to Keukenhof even better! Book a guided tour around the park, enjoy the flowerbulb fields around the park in a whisperboat or make a bike ride in the surroundigs of the park. Keukenhof is also the perfect venue for your lunch, dinner or drinks reception. Your group will have an unforgettable day.

Cycling, boat trips, guided tours

Book a guided tour around the park: our guides will tell you all about the history of Keukenhof and the origins of the tulip, providing background information and fascinating facts.
Relax as you enjoy the peace and quiet of the endless bulb fields around Keukenhof in an electrically-propelled whisper boat. The boat trip takes 45 minutes. Spectacular photos are guaranteed!
Explore the beautiful and colourful Bulb Growing Region by bike! Bicycle hire includes a signposted cycle route; you can choose from four routes, varying in length from 5 to 25 kilometres. Genuine cycling fanatics can even take the ‘Bollenstreek route’ covering a full 35 km. There are ladies’, men’s and children’s bikes and tandems for hire, and child seats and cycle helmets are also available.

Coffee, lunch, dinner

Our five restaurants offer various packages for groups, ranging from coffee with cake to a full menu. Perhaps you would like to let your guests decide for themselves? In that case, order one of our restaurant vouchers.
Our restaurants are able to cater for various dietary needs, such as lactose or gluten-free dishes. Please state this clearly when placing your booking.

A school trip to Keukenhof!!

Have fun while learning all about history, the growth cycle and how flower bulbs are processed at the Bulb Information Pavilion.
Or just play and have fun at the petting farm and in the playground.
Article information sourced from Wiki Links and online information
To order flowers online, visit Mayflower.in

Do Dried Flowers Bring Bad Luck?

Do Dried Flowers bring Bad Luck?

Here we go…another silly myth incorrectly associated with Feng Shui…
Much has been written in Feng Shui literature associating dried plants with negative energy. Some of this information goes to the extreme by crediting dried plants as the potential source of all sorts of calamities. This of course is not true.
This myth is based on the concept that dried flowers and plants were once alive and are now dead. The thought is that if you display these “dead” items in your home they will attract negative energy.

Think about it…if this were true, you would have to get rid of all your wooden furniture or risk being surrounded by “dead” energy all the time.  Nonsense!

While dried flowers usually do not evoke the same feelings of vitality and energy that real plants do they are by no means the bearers of negative events and catastrophes. In fact, under certain circumstances dried plants can have very positive associations for people; for example when kept as mementos of weddings, proms, and other happy experiences. If you wish to display mementos of dried flowers, make sure to do so in such a way that they do not get too dusty or brittle as they may become an eyesore rather than reminders of a pleasant event.
If you are choosing dried flowers for décor purposes only, you may want to consider realistic silk alternatives.  Silk plants can be used to symbolize a healthy plant in an area that needs the look of foliage but for one reason or another cannot support a healthy living plant.
Silk plants are preferable to dried plants as they provide an image of vitality that the dried plants do not. In fact, some silk plants are so realistic looking that it is difficult to tell one apart from a living plant. This all being said, a silk plant is just a replica of a living plant and should only be used to improve the look and décor of a room. Silk plants cannot be used as a substitute for a real plant when an area needs to be activated by the Wood element.
For online flower delivery, visit Mayflower.in

Festival of Holi and Flowers

Holi Festival

Holi Festival one of the major festivals of India, Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar.

Holi festival may be celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.

Preparations of Holi festival

Entire country wears a festive look when it is time for Holi celebration. Market places get abuzz with activity as frenzied shoppers start making preparations for the festival. Heaps of various hues of gulal and abeer can be seen on the roadside days before the festival. Pichkaris in innovative and modern design too come up every year to lure the children who wish to collect them as Holi memorabilia and of course, to drench everybody in the town.

Women folks too start making early preparations for the holi festival as they cook loads of gujiya, mathri and papri for the family and also for the relatives. At some places specially in the north women also make papads and potato chips at this time.

Season of Bloom

Everybody gets delighted at the arrival of Holi as the season itself is so gay. Holi is also called the Spring Festival – as it marks the arrival of spring the season of hope and joy. The gloom of the winter goes as Holi promises of bright summer days. Nature too, it seems rejoices at the arrival of Holi and wears its best clothes. Fields get filled with crops promising a good harvest to the farmers and flowers bloom colouring the surroundings and filling fragrance in the air.

Legends

A Hindu festival, Holi has various legends associated with it. The foremost is the legend of demon King Hiranyakashyap who demanded everybody in his kingdom to worship him but his pious son, Prahlad became a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap wanted his son to be killed. He asked his sister Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap as Holika had a boon which made he immune to fire. Story goes that Prahlad was saved by lord himself for his extreme devotion and evil minded Holika was burnt to ashes, for her boon worked only when she entered the fire alone.

Since that time, people light a bonfire, called Holika on the eve of Holi festival and celebrate the victory of good over evil and also the triumph of devotion to god. Children take special delight in the tradition and this has another legend attached to it. It says that there was once an ogress Dhundhi who used to trouble children in the kingdom of Prithu. She was chased away by children on the day of Holi. Therefore, children are allowed to play pranks at the time of ‘Holika Dahan’.
Some also celebrate the death of evil minded Pootana. The ogress tried to Lord Krishna as an infant by feeding it poisonous milk while executing the plan of Kansa, Krishna’s devil uncle. However, Krishna sucked her blood and brought her end. Some who view the origin of festivals from seasonal cycles believe that Pootana represents winter and her death the cessation and end of winter.
In South India, people worship Kaamadeva- the god of love and passion for his extreme sacrifice. According to a legend, Kaamadeva shot his powerful love arrow on Lord Shiva to revoke his interest in the worldly affairs in the interest of the earth. However, Lord Shiva was enraged as he was in deep mediation and opened his third eye which reduced Kaamadeva to ashes. Though, later on the request of Rati, Kaamadeva’s wife, Shiva was pleased to restore him back.

Holika Dahan

On the eve of Holi, called Chhoti or Small Holi people gather at important crossroads and light huge bonfires, the ceremony is called Holika Dahan. This tradition is also followed in Gujarat and Orissa. To render greatfulness to Agni, god of Fire, gram and stalks from the harvest are also offered to Agni with all humility. Ash left from this bonfire is also considered sacred and people apply it on their foreheads. People believe that the ash protects them from evil forces.

Play of Colors

Great excitement can be seen in people on the next day when it is actually the time for the play of colours. Shops and offices remain closed for the day and people get all the time to get crazy and whacky. Bright colours of gulal and abeer fill the air and people take turns in pouring colour water over each other. Children take special delight in spraying colours on one another with their pichkaris and throwing water balloons and passers by. Women and senior citizen form groups called tolis and move in colonies – applying colours and exchanging greetings. Songs, dance on the rhythm of dholak and mouthwatering Holi delicacies are the other highlights of the day.

Expression of Love

Lovers too long to apply colours on their beloved. This has a popular legend behind it. It is said that the naughty and mischievous Lord Krishna started the trend of playing colours. He applied colour on her beloved Radha to make her one like him. The trend soon gained popularity amongst the masses. No wonder, there is no match to the Holi of Mathura, Vrindavan and Barsana – the places associated with the birth and childhood of Radha and Krishna.

Ecstasy of Bhang

There is also a tradition of consuming the very intoxicating bhang on this day to further enhance the spirit of Holi. It is so much fun to watch the otherwise sober people making a clown of themselves in full public display. Some, however, take bhang in excess and spoil the spirit. Caution should therefore be taken while consuming bhang delicacies.

Sober Evening

After a fun-filled and exciting day, the evenings the spent in sobriety when people meet friends and relatives and exchange sweets and festive greetings.

It is said the spirit of Holi encourages the feeling of brotherhood in society and even the enemies turn friend on this day. People of all communities and even religions participate in this joyous and colouful festival and strenthen the secular fabric of the nation.

Flowers and Holi

Devotees dressed as Krishna and Radha danced and threw flowers on one another, drawing the attention of tourists towards the special style of enjoying the festival.

Days ahead of Holi, the festival was celebrated in Rajasthan’s Pushkar town in a special way by devotees of Krishna.
Holi, popularly known as the festival of colours, holds a distinct meaning in Pushkar and it is celebrated with flowers. It usually falls in the Hindu month of Phagun and is viewed as the harbinger of spring and new life.
Yesterday, local residents celebrated Holi with flowers instead of colours, as has been the general practice, while dancing to the beats of drums and devotional songs in praise of Krishna.
Artistes from various parts of the country gathered in Pushkar to perform Raas Leela (dance recitals depicting Krishna’s flirtatious interludes with village maidens).
Troupes of singers who render folk songs particularly associated with Holi also flocked to the town to participate in the festivities.
“On this occasion, we play Holi with flowers,” said Pawan Kumar, a local resident. “Artistes from various regions like Gwalior, Mumbai, and Jaipur gather here to take part in the celebrations. They perform dances based on Lord Krishna’s leela [deeds]. We also welcome the idol of Lord Ganesha with colours and decorate it. Later, we will play the Holi Phag Mausam with everybody. We play this every year and everybody takes part in the celebrations.”
Devotees dressed as Krishna and his beloved, Radha, danced and threw flowers on one another, drawing the attention of tourists towards the special style of enjoying the festival.
“I have been in Pushkar for the last two days and so far, my stay in this town has been great,” said Sara, an American tourist. “The dances, songs, people dressed as Lord Krishna are really beautiful. The people are very welcoming here. I really like it here. The way Krishna is dancing is good to watch. I wish I had some colours to throw on everybody.”

Holi celebrates the coming of spring and the harvest. It brings together people from all classes and age groups as they play with colours, distribute sweets, and take out processions.

Playing Holi with flowers also saves water, contamination and generally it is a clean and harmless fun Holi.

To order flowers online, visit us at Mayflower.in

 

 

Emotional Impact of Flowers

Emotional Impact of Flowers Study

The Emotional Impact of Flowers Study was published in the April 2005 issue of Evolutionary Psychology.

With today’s high-tech and fast-paced lifestyle taking its daily toll on our lives, experts advise exercise and other personal lifestyle changes to relieve stress. According to behavioral research conducted at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health – flowers. The presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive manner far beyond what is normally believed.

“What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.

Research Findings

 A team of researchers explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction in a 10-month study of participants’ behavioural and emotional responses to receiving flowers. The results show that flowers are a natural and healthful moderator of moods.
Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. All study participants expressed “true” or “excited” smiles upon receiving flowers, demonstrating extraordinary delight and gratitude. This reaction was universal, occurring in all age groups.
Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. Specifically, study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers, and demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction.
Flowers make intimate connections. The presence of flowers led to increased contact with family and friends.
“Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy,” said Dr. Haviland-Jones. “Now, science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, they have strong positive effects on our emotional well being.”

Sharing Space

The study also explored where in their homes people display flowers. The arrangements were placed in areas of the home that are open to visitors – such as foyers, living rooms and dining rooms – suggesting that flowers are a symbol for sharing.
“Flowers bring about positive emotional feelings in those who enter a room,” said Dr. Haviland-Jones. “They make the space more welcoming and create a sharing atmosphere.”

Emotional Impact of Flowers Study Research Methodology

The Emotional Impact of Flowers Study was conducted by Jeannette M. Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Project Director, Human Development Lab at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Dr. Haviland-Jones is a psychologist and internationally recognized authority in the role of emotional development in human behavior and nonverbal emotional signals and response.
The research adds a scientific foundation to what many consider to be common knowledge – that flowers have a strong, beneficial impact on those who receive them. The Society of American Florists worked in cooperation with the Rutgers research team, bringing an expertise of flowers to the project.

Study Participants

he participants were 147 women, ranging equally in age, educational level, and career and lifestyle choice. Women were studied because previous research on emotion demonstrates that women are more discerning of moods, more willing to participate in studies on moods and more involved in emotional management within the home and at work.

Flower Deliveries

Study participants knew they would have a gift delivered, but they did not know what the gift would be. This “secrecy” was to obtain an honest first reaction to the gift as a measure of the direct effect of flowers on immediate mood.

Immediate Emotional Reaction

Trained researchers measured the behavior and emotional expression of participants when they received the flowers. Three different smiles as well as verbal reactions were coded upon the delivery of the flowers. The information was recorded into a field computer within the first 5 seconds of the flower delivery, to measure accurately the first, immediate reaction.

Polite Smile

Polite Smile: This is used most commonly in quick greetings or acknowledgements. No discernible facial movement is present except the turning up of the corners of the mouth.

True Smile

True Smile: This is seen when there are possible changes in behaviour indicating pleasure. Hence it is called “true” – the person is truly happy.

Excited Smile

Excited Smile: This smile combines two emotions – excitement and happiness. Here we see the true smile, but also the eyebrows are raised so that there are high, horizontal wrinkles across the forehead.

Interviews

 The participants were interviewed before getting their gifts, to give the research team a “baseline” of measure. From this, the researchers measured how feelings changed when participants had flowers in their homes. In the initial interview, interviewers asked the participants to evaluate their feelings over the past two to four days to assess their overall, general feelings. Then, several days after the gift was delivered (about 10 days after the first interview) participants were interviewed again to measure changes in feelings related to having flowers in the home.

Want To Get Him To Open Up? Send Flowers

A recent behavioral study conducted at Rutgers University shows that men who receive flowers demonstrate increased social interaction and happiness. This research expands on previous data collected, which showed that flowers enhance happiness and social connections among women.
Conducted by Rutgers University student researcher Holly Hale and psychology professor Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., the study involved two groups of men who varied in age and ethnicity, one group who received a surprise gift of flowers and a control group who did not. The subjects’ verbal cues and body language (measures of social interaction) were studied.
The men who received flowers demonstrated increased eye contact in conversation, stood in closer proximity to the researchers, and produced more and truer smiles than those men who did not receive flowers.
While in general, women displayed a greater level of emotion in their study, the effects are equal. “When it comes to receiving flowers, men and women are on the same playing field,” said Haviland-Jones. “It seems that we all express extraordinary delight and increase our social behavior.”
So in general sending flowers by a woman to a man may have a better psychological effect than the other way around. Though 80% are sent by a man to a woman in this respect, trends are changing and we are noticing a shift and increase in the sending of floral bouquets to men as well!
For more information and to order flowers online, visit Mayflower.in

Flower Of The Month – March

Flower Of the Month March – Daffodil

There are specific flowers which are traditionally given according to the month that a person is born. The March Birth Flower is the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus).

The History and traditions surrounding the March Birth Flower, the Jonquil is fascinating. There are many myths and legends about the origins of this tradition. It is believed that birthday celebrations originated in the Roman Empire and the origins of birth month flowers, such as the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus),  could be said to date back to these times. During Roman birthday celebrations family and friends offered congratulations and brought gifts. The gifts included gemstone jewelry, such as the Aquamarine, and also flowers – the first traditions and origins of the March Birth Flower.

The language of flowers developed during the highly conservative period of the Victorian era. The Victorians were strongly restricted by the rules of etiquette when it was considered totally inappropriate to express feelings of love or affection. The “Language of Flowers” therefore evolved when a message was assigned to specific flower such as the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus). A lover could then send flowers which conveyed a hidden romantic meaning.

The meaning of the March Birth Flower, the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus) is friendship and domestic happiness.

The hidden message of the Birth Flower, the jonquil, so favored during the Victorian era was “You are an angel”.

The colors of the March Birth Flower, the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus), include the following:

Yellow
Orange
All over the World people give Birth Month Flowers as gifts to celebrate special occasions or events. Flowers, such as the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus), are always given to celebrate the birth of a new baby and included in wedding flowers or a wedding bouquet. Many people also like to give March Birth Flower, including the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus), to celebrate special events at different times and months of the year and especially during holiday periods. Knowing the flowers which are associated with the March Birth Flower and their meaning adds to the significance of the flowers. The special events where it would be appropriate to give the March Birth Flower, the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus) are as follows:
Month of March, the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus), to celebrate St David’s Day on March 1, St Patrick’s Day on March 17 and Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day ( the 4th Sunday of Lent)

Definition of the Jonquil: A widely cultivated ornamental plant which is native to southern Europe but naturalized elsewhere having fragrant yellow or white clustered flowers with a trumpet-shaped central crown

The scientific name of a flower species is formed by the combination of two terms: the genus name and the species descriptor in the case of the Jonquil is Narcissus jonquilla

The March Birth Flower, the Jonquil is also called Daffodil or Narcissus
Daffodil is the common English name for all narcissus
The name “Jonquil” is derived from the Spanish word ‘jonquillo’ meaning a rush which refers to the rush-like leaves of the plant
The Jonquil blooms from February to May
For more information and to send birthday flowers online, visit us at Mayflower