Dutch donors create Easter garden in St. Peter’s Square

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN (CNS) – Three semitrucks full of flowers and plants – doused with holy water by a bishop before beginning their journey from the Netherlands – arrived in St. Peter’s Square March 30.

Since 1985 Dutch flower growers have created the garden of blooms, bud-laden bushes and flowering trees that frame the popes’ celebrations of Easter in St. Peter’s Square.

After Easter the flowers, shrubs and trees are planted in the Vatican Gardens and in the gardens at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

Working with the gardening team from the Vatican City State governors’ office, Dutch florists and two dozen volunteers – including Dutch citizens living in Rome – gather in the square in the early morning quiet of Holy Saturday to empty the trucks and arrange the flowers.

In a press release March 26, the Dutch florists said the 2024 Easter array would feature more than 21,000 bulbs: 16,320 tulips and daffodils and 5,180 hyacinths. They will be complemented with 3,500 gerberas and 600 bouvardias.

The altar and the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica were decorated with 1,250 Avalanche roses, 700 delphiniums, 600 chrysanthemums, 350 anthuriums, 100 budding forsythia branches and hundreds of Matthiola StoX antique roses in white, yellow, cream and purple.