Archive March 2014

Tulip Mania!

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in My Blog | 1 Comment

 

 A Tulip is a declaration of love.

In ancient eastern cultures, a lover gave a tulip when he wanted to make his passion known to his mistress.  The outer color showed a heart on fire, and the inner black center indicated that same heart burned to coal from the heat of the passionate flames.

Tulip Mania!

 

While its meaning may have softened with the years, I think it’s safe to say that the Tulip remains a much-loved flower.   We all breathe a sigh of relief when the green buds peek through the earth because it means we made it through another winter.

 

In Holland, the Tulip Season Begins in January

Given the importance of tulips in Holland, the Tulip Season begins much earlier there.  National Tulip Day (January 18, 2014) signals the official start of Tulip season and is celebrated by tulip growers in Holland by building a huge garden with tens of thousands of tulips on Dam Square in Amsterdam.  Thousands of people gather to pick a free bouquet of tulips, after which thousands of tulips find their way from the auctions in Holland to homes around the world.

 

Flower Lovers Flock to the Famous Flower Fields in Holland

One year, I would love to visit the Flower Field Season in Holland.  The official season runs from the end of March to the second week of May, with mid-April being the highlight (weather depending!).  I understand that the place to visit is Keukenhof Park where more than 7 million bulbs are planted every year.  If you’ve seen one of those magnificent photos of flower fields, it’s likely from there.

As tourist destination, Keukenhof can get very crowded, so the Tulip Festival in Noordoostpolder was developed to introduce you to the part of the country that has the most tulips.

 

Check Out The Largest Flower Auction in the World

Today, the Netherlands houses the largest flower auction in the world, Aalsmeeer.  Flowers from all over the world (Europe, Equador, Columbia, Kenya) ship their flowers to the auction and from there, they are shipped all over the world.  I’m not sure I understand the economics of that, but when I figure it out, I’ll let you know!

 

The Tulip Bubble of 1637

While many of us go crazy for tulips at this time of year, our craziness is nothing compared to the Tulip Mania that shook Holland back in the 1600’s.   (Geography trivia – Holland is a region or province of the Netherlands, not an actual country, though sometimes the Netherlands is referred to as Holland). 

Originally from the Middle East, the Tulip was cultivated in the Ottoman Empire (present day Turkey), until Carolus Clusius introduced the flower to Holland.  Clusius studied Tulips, and in 1592 he wrote a book about them which generated so much curiosity that people regularly broke into his garden and stole Tulips, starting the Dutch bulb trade, which eventually led to the Dutch Tulip Bubble of 1637.

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$2,500 for a Tulip Bulb?

Tulips became status symbols, and the elite of Holland competed for the rarest Tulip bulbs.  They became so popular that Tulips were even traded on stock exchanges with people trading and selling their possessions to acquire them.  Like most financial bubbles, the Tulip Bubble ended abruptly leaving many people in financial ruin.  At its peak, a single tulip bulb could cost around $2,500 in today’s dollars!  Some sources say that people even traded their homes for Tulip bulbs!

Hard to imagine, but true!

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Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan

If you can’t travel to Holland, the Netherlands, try the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan.  From May 3-10, 2014, 6 million tulips burst onto the scene.  Since 1929, the city has been celebrating tulips and the festival has expanded to be more than just a world-class flower festival.  It’s now a multi-day celebration of flowers and community that includes Dutch dancing, parades, food galore, a carnival, a craft fair, and Tulip City tours.

 

Tulips Park

 

These aren’t the only Tulip Festivals.  Try googling ‘Tulip Festival’ and you might find one in your area.  

Enjoy the easy elegance of Tulips this Spring!

Peach Tulips

 

Yellow Tulips

Philadelphia Flower Show 2014: Recap

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in My Blog | Leave a comment

Last week I attended the The Philadelphia Flower Show, which ran March 1 to March 9.  This year’s theme, ARTiculture, where Art means horticulture, really tied the show together.  The installations were creative and on a grand scale.  And the floral design work, often an interpretation of a piece of art, was inspired.

I enjoyed the spectacular Entrance Garden.  Paintings and sculptures of, Philadelphia artist, Alexander Calder inspired this multidimensional flower exhibit.  Made of flowers, greens, glass and stone, the exhibit was as interesting up close as it was from a distance.

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There were times when it felt like you were wandering through an enchanted forest.

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The installations were feats in floral arrangement.

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This photo doesn’t do this installation justice.  Vibrant orchids and ribbons contributed to the feminine and  soft feel of it.   Absolutely beautiful.

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This hypothetical store window was a show-stopper.

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The Gardener’s Studio invited gardening experts to share their wisdom.  It’s always a popular feature.  

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Another popular feature of the show are the multiple booths than cover one end of the huge space.  As usual, many interesting artists and businesses that cater to us flower lovers.  

Enjoy a quick taste of spring with some white tulips and hyacinth.  The fragrance of all those hyacinth was absolutely heavently!

Congratulations to everyone for a wonderful 2014 show!

 

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