Tulip Top Gardens are a little way out of town (and in the next state) and they are open each year at the same time as Floriade.
Both are celebrations of spring. Both feature tulips by the hundreds. Both are in spectacular locations. And they couldn't be more different.
Floriade is free to enter, and is becoming increasingly commercial in nature.
Tulip Top Gardens charges $16 admittance to people over 16 (seniors get a discount). Included in that fee are unlimited cups of tea and coffee and for those who would like it a sausage sandwich (the skinny one had mine as well).
Floriade is a government initiative.
Tulip Top Gardens are the work of a single family - who put over a million bulbs in the ground each year by hand. I am so in awe of their backs and their stamina. And their eye for colour.
I go to both of them each year, but Tulip Top Gardens is first in my heart. This year it too was celebrating a significant anniversary - its 20th year of opening to the public.
Starting at the entrance to the gardens, wandering down the path.
I think their eye for colour and design is amazing. I love their companion planting too.
They have a lookout. Each year it is a test. Is this the year I have to give up? But no, slowly (with lots of rests) I did make it to the top again. And was rewarded with this view.
It is steep, but worth it.
Very tiring and well worth it.