On Animal Crossing, Bunny Day is approaching. The groundhog peeped his head in early February with an early promise of spring. Across the Northern Hemisphere, the flowers will soon be blooming everywhere: seas of sunflowers in Tuscany, wispy wisteria in Japan, lavender fields in southern France, the cherry blossoms and magnolias in the American Northeast. Then there are the seven million tulips that sweep through Keukenhof, the Netherland's most-visited botanical garden, almost exclusively dedicated to tulips.
If you've ever known anyone to visit Amsterdam around this time of year or have had any exposure to travel Instagram, you'll likely recognise these Dutch blooms. But since the Dutch government placed some very serious (and responsible) measures in late March to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Keukenhof Flower Exhibit of 2020 is a no-go.
In a statement on the flower garden’s website, the organisers lament, "The fact that Keukenhof cannot open all season has a huge financial impact. There are no revenues this year while most of the costs have already been incurred." The festival was expected to open on March 21st, but on March 23, the Dutch government banned public gatherings until June. We are doing what's best for everyone by staying at home, but it hurts to watch the flowers bloom from a window.
You can spend some time with these world-famous blooms, where else, if not online. The Keukenhof wasn't about to let all their efforts go to waste so it's shared a video of what the grounds looked like on April 7 and another one with commentary by the head gardener.
Last Easter weekend, Holland's "tulip belt" welcomed about 17 million tourists and too many of them trampled and stepped on the tulips for the perfect 'gram. Such was the lack of consideration and carelessness that the tulip farmers had to organise and post signs that read "enjoy the flowers, respect our pride." At least this year, the flowers won't perish under the feet of desperate Instagrammers.
This leads us into the coronavirus meme du jour: the "nature is healing" meme. Like the fish and swans thought to be floating through the Venice canals, relieved from human pollution, the Dutch tulips have a better chance of living through the season this year.