I joined Instagram while visiting Holland at its most Instagrammable time: during the six weeks each year that the country becomes a rainbow checkerboard of tulip fields. Here are things I now know about these highly-photographable flowers. (I will impart my new understanding of bikes and canals at a later date.) 1. They are one of the only flowers that keeps growing — up to an inch or more — after you cut them. 2. They can hold their entire weight in water. 3. They have up to seven times more DNA than humans.
There to teach me everything I needed to know about these gorgeous blooms was my tutor Kim Jensen, an unlikely candidate to be the world’s foremost authority on tulips in beauty. She was born and raised in Australia. Her parents met in a refugee camp in Thailand. She has spent much of her adult life in Manhattan. “I never imagined I would become an expert in tulips,” she told me as we stood in a sprawling field of them, minutes outside of Amsterdam.
To understand how this came to be, we need to take a quick detour to Ibiza. There, three years ago, on the last night of a girls trip, Jensen met a guy on the dance floor. This was clearly not the beginning of a beautiful long-term relationship (because: Ibiza, dance floor, vacation over). And then...it was. That guy turned out to be a fourth-generation Dutch tulip farmer. So now Jensen lives in the Netherlands with Hein Van Haaster (told you he was Dutch), and she’s found a way to marry their worlds. In Jensen’s old life, she was a beauty marketing executive. In her new one, she’s created Bloomeffects, a skin-care line (with a little makeup) that — for the first time ever — includes tulip extracts.