ROCHESTER, NY.- George Eastman House
presents virtual springtime, with the 15th annual exhibition The Dutch Connection: George Eastman's Conservatory in Winter Bloom, on view Friday, Feb. 6 through Saturday, Feb. 21. This colorful, interpretive exhibition will feature thousands of flowering bulbs, re-creating Eastman's 1909 display of flowers from Holland — ordered from the same Dutch company Eastman used.
The two-week display is a welcome treat for the eyes and nose in the midst of winter. The Conservatory display each week will feature more than 2,000 tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, amaryllis, and freesias, in vibrant shades of white, yellow, rosy pink, soft orange, salmon copper, scarlet, plum, lavender, and deep blue — the same colors Eastman featured 100 years ago. In addition, tropical orchids will be displayed throughout the restored rooms of Eastman's house, courtesy of the Genesee Region Orchid Society. Also on view will be artifacts from 1909, related to Eastman and Kodak.
During Eastman's residency at the house between 1905 and 1932, he ordered tens of thousands of bulbs from Holland every year (except 1918, when a wartime coal shortage forced him to close his greenhouses) to decorate his Conservatory. The orders were mostly for tulips, narcissus, and hyacinths for indoor forcing, plus tulips for the outside beds. These bulbs were forced in his on-site greenhouses.
Eastman's nostalgic annual bulb orders stemmed from a trip he made to Holland in 1890, when he was lured by the tulip fields while bicycling through the countryside. The present-day display is based on Eastman's original orders placed with Dutch bulb-importing company Baartman and Konin in Sassenheim, Holland. The same company, now known as B & K Flowerbulbs, supplies the flowers to Eastman House today. The cultivation process began last July with 6,000 bulbs, growing since October at the Monroe County root cellar and greenhouses.