The Dandenongs are home to 100,000 residents, but the area is very popular with visitors and tourists. many of which stay for the weekend at the various Bed & Breakfasts through the region. Much of the Dandenongs were protected by parklands as early as 1882 and by 1987 these parklands were amalgamated to form the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which was added to again in 1997. The popular Puffing Billy Railway, a heritage steam railway, runs through the southern parts of the Dandenongs.
There are many small towns and village-like settlements throughout , but there are also farms and orchards, flower gardens and nurseries. The relatively high altitude and cooler temperatures favour the growth of Spring bulbs and one of the larger bulb farms is the Tesselaar Tulip Farm, which is in existence from 1939. The annual Tulip Festival at this farm is well-attended event very popular with visitors and tourists.
|We visited the Dandenongs a couple of weeks ago and as usual we thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent scenery of this very special part of Melbourne.|
|The Festival attracts many thousands of visitors, many of them overseas tourists that get here by tour bus. The local visitors can park in the capacious car park.|
|Poffertjes (Dutch pronunciation: pOff-ert-yes) are a traditional Dutch batter treat. Resembling small, fluffy pancakes, they are made with yeast and buckwheat flour. They have a light, spongy texture and are served with icing sugar and butter.|
|The gorgeous Spring weather ensured that many visitors turned up on the same day we were there. Although many people availed themselves of the food sold at the Festival, we also saw many visitors having picnics on the grounds.|
|We chose the time of our visit well as the tulips were at their best.|
|The sheer variety of tulip cultivars on display is mind-boggling. Throughout the hundreds of years that the tulip has been in cultivation, careful interbreeding and hybridisation (mainly in the Netherlands) has produced over 3,500 cultivars!|
|Parrot Tulips are the largest of all tulips and there are about 120 varieties. Big and beautiful, they have flamboyant flowers with streaks, ruffles and frayed edges. They are also among the last bulbs in the year to flower.|
|A young tulip fan is enjoying the colourful display.|
|A little bit of the Netherlands in Melbourne! Tulip fields and windmills...|
|In the Language of Flowers, the red tulip signifies: "Believe My Declaration of True Love".|
|The tulip fields provide many a photo opportunity.|
|Children seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely amongst the tulip fields.|
|"Two lips many kisses..." although in the Language of Flowers the pink tulip signifies affection and caring.|
|This small-scale replica of a Dutch windmill provides a cutesy, kitch touch and plenty more of photo opportunities.|
|The yellow tulip in the Language of Flowers signifies: "There's Sunshine in Your Smile", while the orange tulip signifies: "Energy, Enthusiasm, Desire, and Passion".|
|A young tulipomaniac decided to strip the tulips of their leaves, until his mother thankfully intervened...|
|The tools of the trade! Tulip growing is hard work, but thankfully modern machinery makes it a little lighter.|
|Besides which, the tools can also be used to advantage during the Festival!|
|White tulips signify "Forgiveness" in the Language of Flowers.|
Originally from Persia and Turkey, tulips were brought to Europe in the 16th century, where they got their common name from the Turkish word for gauze (with which turbans were wrapped) - reflecting the turban-like appearance of a tulip in full bloom.
A Turkish legend says that a prince named Farhad was love-struck by a maiden named Shirin. When Farhad learned that Shirin had been killed, he was so overcome with grief that he killed himself - riding his horse over the edge of a cliff. It's said that a scarlet tulip sprang up from each droplet of his blood, giving the red tulip the meaning "perfect love."