Beauty Comes With Age Reading The World Daffodil Tour 2024 9 minutes Next Time for Cake

It’s the flower that has brought us together and the people that make us come back

Hello everyone, as spring can prove to be the busiest time of the year for Carlos, it is my turn to tell a story. It just so happens I was part of last week’s The Daffodil Tour 2024. Enjoy the read, Vlad.

Group picture on Flying Colors Daffodils field

For decades now, the world's daffodils' lovers and regular gardeners alike, have taken part in a tour around the world every 4 years. This journey starts in New Zealand, then it continues in the US, then back to Australia and finally in Europe, in The Netherlands, UK and Ireland. Every 4 years we go to one of these locations to look at daffodils in bloom, talk about them, set and improve show standards, promote scientific research and of course to build relationships in this very marvelous and beautiful world of Narcissus. The key ingredient is of course us, the people who love the daffodils, just like Deana Geisler told me while we were on the bus driving to our next location (thank you, D).

In case you thought we are talking about the all-yellow bells we all love and enjoy at Easter, you might be very surprised that currently there are more than 33 thousands known cultivars, ranging across 13 different divisions, the daffodil groups in other words. So yes, taking part in The World Daffodil Tour every 4 years is something you definitely don’t want to miss, the cherry on top as one can say. In 2024 it was finally Europe’s turn to hold and organize this international event, first in The Netherlands by Fluwel, followed by Esker Farm Daffodils in Northern Ireland. In The Netherlands alone, there were about 90 participants from all around the world, including many members of the American Daffodil Society. This story focuses on the first part of the tour, in The Netherlands.

You can imagine that our schedule was quite packed, given that we literally had 3 days only. This is understandable, since April is the prime time for daffodils to bloom, which means a very busy period of the year for the daffodil people. Yes, this is how I call us :D

We started day one by visiting Carlos’s field, just nearby the Fluwel warehouse. In this field we could still see a lot of very special seedlings, or unregistered cultivars, that are not yet in production. Many of them were either bred by Carlos himself or by his father, Karel. This collection is one of the most special in the world, containing well above 2000 different cultivars, from all 13 divisions. Here you can see from the smallest N. assoanus to the giant The Godfather. Our lunch was at Land van Fluwel, the adventure park Carlos and his family found some years ago, destined for families with kids and anyone who enjoys being in nature. Many thanks to all the Ladies at Fluwel who offered us very delicious food!The deepest and most clean violet hyacint I have even seen

After lunch, we visited the fields of Jan Pennings, who grows a lot of daffodil varieties. The last stop of the day was at Floratuin Julianadorp, which specializes in all sorts of spring bulbs. Personally, I have seen the most beautiful hyacinths here, in all possible tones of lilac, purple and blue, what a delight for the eyes! The day ended with a very tasty dinner at our hotel, followed by a very inspiring photo presentation by Carlos, who told us about the important role the Daffodil played in his life. His talk was named ‘The daffodil builds our business’. How this humble flower got him in touch with some beautiful people in the bulb industry who asked him to pack and ship their bulbs for him. Now, if you haven’t met Carlos in person yet, you have to know he has a very particular way of telling a story, witty and funny at the same time. Just imagine our newsletter, then multiply it by 100, you get the drill.Black Beauty, a hybrid from 1955

Our second day was a little bit more relaxed, nevertheless full of impressions and some bad weather, too :)) First, we went to Eric Breed, who lives close to Lisse. I mean, whenever I am at Eric’s, I have a true blast. He has bulbs from all over the world and he is a simple man. I really enjoy spending time with him and we have known each other for years now. What is important to know about Eric is that he has one of the best and most extensive tulip collections in the world and if you tell him what you like in tulips’ world, he will know exactly the varieties you need. I got my most beautiful tulips from him actually, many of them heirloom hybrids. On the other hand, he also grows over 4000 daffodil varieties and you can imagine the thrill we all had visiting his fields. Because spring came early this year, most of the varieties were done blooming and yet, Eric had so many more that are yet to bloom. The most spectacular poet hybrids I have seen were here.A delightful poet hybrid in Eric's garden

After this, we went to Hein Meeuwissen, another impressive bulb person. He grows many different bulbs, including the most extensive Rhodohypoxis collection, a lovely genera from South Africa. Besides this, Hein also grows the most tulip species in the Netherlands. And of course, he has many daffodil varieties too, including many heirlooms. Now, if you don’t know what a heirloom variety is, well in the daffodils’ world this means any variety registered before 1940. Thank you Hein for the lovely soup in your warehouse, it certainly did us good to have a warm lunch after that crazy storm that occurred. We ended day two with a long and relaxing visit at Keukenhof, where millions of bulbs are planted every year for people to come and enjoy in spring. This has been done for exactly 75 years now, where flower bulbs companies get their spot in this beautiful park, to plant their bulbs and build up their image to the public.Carlos giving an intro speech at Hortus Bulborus

Our third day was marvelous as well and the way it ended, it was meant to be. It felt like we wrote in the history books and I will get to this a little bit later. First, we went to Hortus Bulborum, a very important garden in Limmen that has a lot of heritage, growing tulip hybrids that date from back in the 16th century! Now imagine those heirlooms making and thriving in today’s world, after centuries of being created. This is why institutions like Hortus Bulborum are very important today and please, value them yourself, we have to keep our heritage. On a few hectares, this organization grows not only very old tulip varieties, but also an impressive number of daffodils, many of them I have never heard of. Beside this, I have never seen so many Fritillaria imperialis hybrids in one place, so delightful. They also grow the most hybrids of Hyacinths in the Netherlands. It is something you definitely don’t want to miss out on.‘Early Lousiana’ jonquil hybrid (division 7), registered in 1612

Now, what I have mentioned above, that we wrote in the history books? This is how our tour officially ended: we visited first the Egmond Chapel, then went to the fields of Flying Colors Daffodils and I mean, we have never seen anything like it before. Michiel de Waard, the owner of Flying Colors Daffodils has put in some hard work last fall and has planted well above 100 different varieties in pots for us to enjoy during The World Daffodil Tour 2024.One of the wonderful display at the Egmond Chapel

The way he and his team created the display all over in the Egmond Chapel was from another world. The freshness of the blooms, the colors, the scents, the warm sunlight through the chapel vitrails, everything was just perfect, perfectly on point. It was everything the daffodil people could have ever wished for. Only if I could transport the energy that was in the chapel on that day, so you understand what I mean when I say “we wrote in the history books”, it was that much. To manage this quality of blooms, Michiel has kept these pots in a cool room at +2 C only, some pots for 6 weeks long. You see, Michiel does some impressive breeding himself and he also had the opportunity to acquire some impressive hybrids from back in the day and on top of this, he works very closely with Harold Koopowitz, a legend known in the daffodils’ world for his lovely miniature hybrids. We thank Michiel’s team for organizing this outstanding display for us and for the lovely lunch. I think none of the members of this Daffodil Tour will ever forget this magnificent display of daffodils.Us, having the time of our lives at the chapel

Woah, this story got pretty long, eh? And I feel like I could still go on, but it is finally time to stop. I want to personally thank everyone who participated. I am grateful to have met some old plant friends and made some new ones, it was a dream come true. Many thanks to all the organizers, especially to Pien & Carlos van der Veek, Eric Breed and of course to Van der Valk Hotel, which provided us accommodation, transport and guidance during the entire tour.

Much love,


The cake had to come at the end, delightful isn't it?