One of things I love about Dutch town markets is the availability of fresh flowers. You can find fresh flowers all year round and for cheap. Roses, tulips, orchids, and heather can always be found at the Hilversum market. The supermarkets and even the Albert Heijn to go at the train station always sell flowers. On any given day (but especially market days) you will pass dozens of people carrying flowers. My friends will tell you that I am not really a flower person (unless we are talking dead flowers). I think that is changing after a year of watching people pass by with armloads or bike baskets full of flowers.
If I am honest the flower bug first hit me back in March. I bought a bunch of tulips and a vase. On the way home from the shop I walked slowly, afraid of squishing the buds or breaking the vase. That afternoon I spent time carefully trimming and arranging the tulips. I debated putting them in the front window or on the dining table. The latter won. The bright colors popped against the dark finish of the dining room table. I was pleased with the effect and enjoyed the flowers while they lasted. But as flowers do, they died and I tucked the empty vase into the back of my cupboard.
During the rest of the spring and summer I enjoyed walking past neighbors’ gardens and the wildflowers in the city. Eventually they became background and I noticed them less and less. Fast forward to early October. One afternoon my doorbell rang. It was my neighbor with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. After she left I realized just how big the bouquet was and that all the flowers would not fit in my vase. I set the flowers on the counter and ran to the store to buy a second vase.
The flowers lasted an amazingly long time, especially given my track record with killing plants. I had them at least a week possibly two. When they died, I was prepared to pack away my vases again. That is until I saw a perfect fall bouquet in the market that I had to buy. Then friends brought me more flowers. In short, for the last two months my table has been constantly decked out in flowers. And whenever my current bouquet dies, I have my eye on some poinsettias…