Nature's pageantry on display during Dutch tulip season

LISSE, Netherlands — Nothing says springtime like the tulip season in the Netherlands. The vast Dutch sky hangs low against rectangles of color— majestic purples, regal reds, bright yellows, eye-popping white.

Tulip fields dot the countryside from Haarlem to The Hague but the centerpiece of tulip-watching is Keukenhof park, located in Lisse, some 30 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Amsterdam. Here, the tulip hunter is rewarded with artistic compositions of tulips with their seasonal brethren, hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses and other springtime varieties.

Gardeners begin planting the 32 hectares (nearly 80 acres) with over 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in mid-September to prepare for the eight-week spectacle that runs at Keukenhof from mid-March through mid-May. The hand-planting by 40 gardeners takes three months. More than a million tourists visit the gardens each year.

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