A Feast of Fragrance and Color at the Keukenhof Narcissus Show

Staff
7 Min Read

Keukenhof is in full swing. The weather has been excellent since the opening on March 21. You can walk for miles and miles in the sun and under the trees enjoying the splendor of all kinds of bulbous flowers, like tulips, fritillaria, hyacinths, muscari, and… daffodils!

One of the long-time participating growers supplying bulbs and cut flowers to the Keukenhof displays is M.H. van der Zon & Zn. One of the sons of the founder is co-owner Nick van der Zon, who explains all the whys hows, and whats. And why this venue is the perfect occasion and location for Dutch floriculture promotion.

One-Week-Only Extensive In-House Narcissus Show

Keukenhof displays flowers and blooming plants not only outdoors, but also indoors. The setting of the flower shows in the Oranje Nassau Pavillion is entirely in the style of this park. Dutch growers show their most beautiful flowers here. Every week there is a different floral display.

For the real enthusiasts of fragrance and color, Keukenhof has organized a one-week-only extensive in-house show of daffodils and other special bulbous flowers. From April 11 to 16, 2024, all the big names of narcissus present some of their best cut flowers. All the big names are there, including grower M.H. van der Zon. This is what owner Nick van der Zon drives to participate year after year in the greatest promotion of Dutch floriculture.

 

 

Van der Zon at Keukenhof

Nick van der Zon is the last in line in his company. With a bit of nostalgia, he says his children have other ambitions than becoming growers. But Nick is not sad about it; he is only 58 years old and still has many beautiful years ahead of him growing and breeding daffodils, tulips, and dahlias on his 40 hectares of land. And don’t think he is only busy in spring and early summer with these products, because it takes all twelve months of the year to have these flowers shine when they’re in season.

As long as Nick can remember, the company that his father Matthias ‘Thijs’ Hendrikus built back in 1958 has been participating in the beauty that Keukenhof shows during its opening in eight weeks of spring:

“This year must be the twentieth year, probably, that we deliver our bulbs to Keukenhof. That started with the so-called Narcissus Study Club. Growers from the Dutch ‘Bollenstreek’ (the ‘Bulb Belt is a famous bulb growing area in the western part of Holland) gathered to learn from each other. Keukenhof already had its yearly show at that time and they asked our club to participate with our daffodil bulbs as well. Their aim was, obviously, to be able to present a wider assortment to their visitors. And we agreed.”

In the perception of the consumer, Narcissus only had one color: yellow. This has changed due to the efforts of Van der Zon and the other associated growers of the Narcissus Study Club. If you look around at Keukenhof this year, you’ll see that Narcissus is a very diversified product, with many different colors, shapes, sizes, and scents.

Nick:

“The desire to get more varieties of Narcissus made us start breeding ourselves. We have especially become successful in developing pot plant Narcissi. This is a huge market, so very interesting for us. The first one we bred was the yellow-orange Narcissus Akita. Maybe you also know our varieties Carice, Iwona, Lady Madonna, and Kapiti Peach. Those are our biggest varieties so far.”

Besides pot plants, Van der Zon breeds the bulbs to grow narcissus cut flowers as well. You might be familiar with names like Narcissus the white Wedding Bell, and the white-orange Johann Strauss.

Proud of Participating in Keukenhof

Nick is truly proud of not only his own participation in the daffodil splendor at Keukenhof with around 12,000 bulbs. But he is particularly proud of the whole Narcissus product group for being so well-presented there.

Nick:

“We are so happy Keukenhof presents a stage for us as daffodil growers. This park is the best and biggest promotor of Dutch flowers and its bulb industry. For us, this is priceless advertising; much better than hiring an advertising agency to create a marketing campaign.

We are always completely free to show the varieties we think are best. Keukenhof only shows us where they would like our bulbs to be planted. Timing is essential for us. We make sure that the early to late flowering of the different bulb varieties is spread over the eight weeks that this park is open to the public. You will see Narcissus from the first to the last week. And that is such a wonderful promotion for our product group.

Together with all growers we have achieved to place around 500 varieties at Keukenhof, both in the enormous gardens outside and in the indoor Narcissus Show. We check weekly in the park with other growers if the blooming still goes as planned.”

Where & When

The Narcissus Show takes place at the Oranje Nassau Pavilion in Keukenhof from April 11 to 16, 2024.

Visiting address: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM, Lisse, Netherlands.

 

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