Most folks think “Holland flowers” and tulips immediately come to mind. When you move here in the fall, though, you’ll be watching your front yard and wondering what will come up first–and it won’t be tulips. In Belgium the first blossoms to hint at warmer weather on the horizon were crocus. Not so in my little square parcel in the Netherlands.
Snow Bells were the first. With their greenery like large blades of grass jutting up through soil, moss, and even snow, they spread all over our patch of outdoors the way poison ivy springs across my skin, unexpectedly and profusely.
My physical therapist called them “sneeuw clock werks” as best I could understand the Dutch. My Dutch teacher pronounced them “sneeuw clockjes” and informed my class that clockjes are the bells in the church tower. Ah, that made sense. I’ve also learned from a Brit friend the flowers are called Snow Drops.
Crocus have been planted in common areas across the country. Carpets of purple mostly, some white and yellow now herald spring. Daffodil clumps line the median to my left as I drive the children to school and try to keep wary eyes on the crowded bike lane to my right.
And as much as I enjoy these more familiar flowers and will keep an eye out for famed fields of tulips, it is the previously unknown blossom making a tiny modest start to the Holland Spring Parade that brings the most smiles to my face.
Kristin King is an author, publisher, and president of of the nonprofit, Future Hope Africa. She lives with her family in the Netherlands as a Holland Expat.