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More from Amsterdam

September 11, 2011

The Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market) was one of the places I visited during my first trip to the Netherlands in 2007. Like this year, I took the train back home on Monday evening, so I had a day to explore Amsterdam after spending the weekend with friends. Then, I had one friend still with me to play city guide – she took me to the Hortus Botanicus first, then to the ABC (American Book Center) and to the flower market (and finally to dinner and a pub where we passed the remaining hours playing Carcassonne).

This year, wandering around by myself, I didn’t find the ABC again (but I did stumble upon another English bookstore, meaning I came home with way too many books), but I did find the Hortus and then noticed that the tourist maps also had the flower market on them.

Evil maps. Very evil maps. Very evil market – because some time between 2007 and now, I’ve lost every bit of self control I ever had.

Stall upon stall looking like this…

The stained glass panel made me think of Karen715 from Life Among the Leaves, or rather of her husband.

OK, I was not tempted by these!

I was, however, sorely tempted to find out if those black and blue tulips are really this black and blue. I didn’t buy any, though, so I’m very proud of myself. Of course, the only reason I didn’t buy any is that I haven’t had much luck with tulips in pots – the smaller species tulips, yes, but not the hybrid varieties.

I also saw amaryllis bulbs that were tagged as blue, which really makes me wonder… just trying to trick the silly tourists into buying them, when they aren’t really blue, or is that the whole orchid dyeing crap all over again? I wonder, I wonder… if you fed the bulbs enough dye before you let them go dormant, would the next flowers still be blue? I’m almost tempted to try it. I’ve got a white amaryllis, and I know dyeing cut flowers works with ink, and I’ve got plenty of ink (the Carpenter Brother and I both bought ink bottles when we were very obsessed with Harry Potter, and trying to write with quills)…

In any case, I stayed away from the tulips, but I bought some stuff.

It’s always dangerous to say, “I bought seeds in Amsterdam.” Heck, it’s dangerous to say, “I’ve been to the Netherlands” at all, because someone will always assume you’ve just been there to smoke pot (it’s legal there… maybe take a closer look at the right side of the middle picture).

I’ve got no interest in that, so none of those seeds for me – this is what I came home with:

The Mina (Ipomoea) lobata seeds on the right were what set off this shopping spree. I’d been looking for them all spring, but couldn’t find them anywhere, so I decided to seize this chance. And once you start, you might as well buy something else… and something else… and just one more thing… one Hippeastrum papilio bulb (already sending up a flower bud), one dry brown thingy that’s supposed to turn into a Cycas revolute (it’s not doing anything yet, and I actually kind of hope it won’t, because I don’t really know where to put it), and three bags of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) seeds. I didn’t really expect them to do anything much, but they surprised me – the five seeds that weren’t dry and hollow (which four of the nine were) have all sprouted now. I don’t think the “blue” ones will really be as blue as the picture on the seed packet, but then again, I don’t really expect them to flower anyway. But the leaves alone are neat enough! The first ones have completely opened now, and I love putting water drops on them and letting them roll around!

Oh, and a bonus picture of a random corner of Amsterdam that I managed to wring from my dying camera batteries – I can never quite believe that this is a real city – real places shouldn’t look so cute, full of red bricks and water and boats and bicycles, completely ridiculous amounts of bicycles. The main station even has a multi-level bicycle garage, and it’s crammed.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2011 15:02

    The black tulips are really a gorgeous shade of deep purple but it does appear black if the sun isn’t hitting them directly. The blue ones are really more of a lilac color. I wonder if the blue amaryllis was really a Worsleya? http://www.strangewonderfulthings.com/184.htm I know HE says they’re really rare but he’s also a seller and tends to exagerate everything to make his plants seem special. Either way I should probably away from that flower market. It seems like I’d do far too much damage there.

    • September 11, 2011 21:52

      No – I don’t think I’d have been able to resist if it had been anything as neat as a Worsleya (which I hadn’t heard about until now) – they were definitely Hippeastrum flowers, just very blue (like the lotus flower on the one seed packet) – so either dyed, or photoshopped.

      • September 12, 2011 01:23

        Well I’m glad you didn’t pass up something as cool as Worsleya. I’m gonna go with photoshopped…though that would seem really bold because even a lavender amaryllis doesn’t exist so who knows what it would really be?!

        • September 12, 2011 18:46

          If it had looked like something real, I’d probably have bought it. I think my wallet was quite grateful they didn’t have any truly awesome stuff.

  2. Thomas permalink
    September 11, 2011 21:36

    If those were Worsleya, I would be so wanting right now, I’d rather not know. (I grew some from seed many, many years ago but tried growing them like regular amaryllis and the roots kept rotting, gave up, then learned they grow like orchids. BIG sigh.) But I had to comment on the hand written sign in the top middle of the third picture clipped to the display. 3 for 10 Euros?

    • September 11, 2011 21:52

      You know, I never looked at that display closely until now – and now I’m giggling at the bonsai and cannabis seeds all mixed together!

  3. September 12, 2011 01:25

    What’s with the “Don’t Touch” signs on the amaryllis? Are the ones for sale actually somewhere else?

  4. September 12, 2011 07:15

    I guess you have to wait for one of the sellers to give you one. No idea why… and it was just that one stall.

    … one thing that would make sense is that it’d be to stop people from picking them up and dropping them back in the wrong crate. I wish I could put a “don’t touch” sign on our tomato plants next spring!

  5. September 12, 2011 11:44

    I’m very impressed at the self-control you exerted. I know now what place to avoid if and when I visit Amsterdam.

    • September 12, 2011 18:47

      Self control? Hah. Self control would have been not to go there at all! That I didn’t buy more was mostly due to the fact that they didn’t have more that I really wanted.

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