After months of careful isolation, we were finally able to meet in person and talk one to one. Great though Zoom has been, it was a relief not to be peering at tiny rectangles on a computer screen. Many thanks to Rosemary for her account of this rather special day.
It was a gloriously sunny day when 16 of us met up, duly masked, to visit the multi-coloured flowerbeds bursting with tulips of all shapes, sizes and colour in the big park behind the château de Morges. The sight of thousands of these flowers was wonderful. Had they not been against the background of Lake Leman and the mountains opposite, we could almost have thought that we were in Holland! The tulips were fully opened and perfect, the cold spell having held them back and kept them fresh. Having had so little rain these last weeks, it is amazing they managed to bloom at all.
Well, we tiptoed around, ooing and aahing, past North Pole, a beautiful fringed white, admiring Hugs and Kisses, white and pink striped, putting on our sunglasses for the flamboyant double orange-red Pompadour, and sauntered past Silverstream, the single white, Lady Susanne, a yellow tulip dipped in red, Dancing Queen, a beautiful double bright yellow, Art Deco, a pale lipstick pink, and of course the remarkable Exotic Emperor, and the brilliant Orange Emperor… so many varieties, shapes, sizes, and colours.
We have come a long way from the great Dutch tulip mania of 1634-1637, when tulip bulbs were worth a fortune! However, the prices dropped dramatically in 1637 and some of the richest citizens in Holland lost everything. We were so fortunate to enjoy, for free, this marvellous floral display open to the public. There were however discreet donation boxes at the entrances, which is an excellent idea.
The surrounding park was planted around 1886 with a number of special trees. Known as the Parc de la République, it was renamed Parc de l’Indépendance on January 24th 1898, for the centenary of the vaudoise revolution. As we were spellbound by the tulips, we might have missed looking up at the tall trees, including some tulip trees, especially apt to shade this extraordinary floral display. Among the monuments in the park is an obelisk dedicated to the 26 victims of a terrible explosion in the chateau in 1871, where French internees of the Bourbaki army were dismantling old cartridges in the armoury. A bit further on is a bronze bust of François-Alphonse Forel (1841-1912), the famous naturalist of Morges and specialist of Lake Leman.
Some had lunch installed on a terrasse, and others sitting by the water’s edge overlooking a swan’s nest with four huge eggs! On leaving, I noticed Triomphe (pink and white) and Rhapsody of Smiles (tall yellow streaked with orange) which, I think, sums up perfectly our visit! Many thanks Pam and Jan for organizing this event. Let’s put it in our diaries for next year!