Time for tulips
Did you know that there’s a real story behind the name, ‘tulip’? ‘Tulip’ comes from the Latin word, tulipa, which means ‘the flower that looks like a turban’. Originally, tulips came from Turkey where they were cultivated and traded during the Middle Ages. At that time, it was the custom for men in Turkey to wear a turban. An apt name for this flower, don’t you think?
From 1634 to 1637, the Netherlands was in the throes of ‘tulip mania’. During this period, tulips bulbs were expensive, and not just on the pricey side, either. They could be practically unaffordable. Only the very rich could buy tulip bulbs. The flamed and striped kinds were especially favored. A tulip bulb seemed like a good investment because it was worth so much. Many people thought they could turn a profit on tulip bulbs so they gambled all their possessions on buying a single one. What they actually received for their money was a proof of ownership for that bulb because the bulb itself was apparently growing in a field somewhere. So to make a profit (and hopefully a big one), this proof of ownership would be sold to someone else. The prices for such a proof of ownership were almost unbelievably high: for that money, you could buy a mansion on one of Amsterdam’s canals. As it turned out, many of these documents were false, so these profit-seekers lost everything.
From bulb to flower
What has to happen, exactly, before a tulip bulb can produce a flower? Tulip growers are experts in this area. At a tulip grower’s nursery, the tulip bulbs are first given a cold period. They need this to grow and produce a flower. After a certain length of time in the cold, the tulip bulbs are planted in trays and taken to a special cold store. Once they have spent enough time there, they are finally taken to a nice warm greenhouse. As soon as the tulip bulbs feel the heat, they produce a stem with leaves. Three weeks later, the flower buds appear. This is when the tulips are mature enough to be harvested.
Shapes and colors
No matter what their color, tulips will brighten up your home during the cold winter months. Because plant breeders have succeeded so well in crossing tulips over the centuries, you now have an extremely wide choice in flower colors and flower shapes. There are single-flowered, double-flowered, lily-flowered and fringed tulips – and these are just some of them. Did you know that tulips in certain colors even have a special meaning?
- Red tulip: perfect love
- Yellow tulip: happiness
- White tulip: forgiveness
- Mixed bunch of tulips: elegance
Caring for tulips
Needless to say, you’ll want to enjoy your flowers as long as possible. But what is the best way to care for your bouquet of tulips? Trim off the soft stems of your tulips at an angle. The leaves can remain attached to the stem since they will not decay in the water. Arrange the tulips in a clean vase filled with tap water at room temperature. Choose a location for your tulips that is not too warm and is far away from the fruit bowl. After a few days, you will notice how the tulips have continued to grow in the vase. Pretty soon, you will have a natural work of art.