From the E-Newsletter:
of the Spring Garden
Brief History of the Tulip: Once upon a time no
one in the western world had ever heard of a tulip.
The Turks knew all about them and grew them as early
as 1000 AD. So, unbeknownst to us, across the wilds
of central and western Asia and in Turkish gardens about
100 species of exceptional little bulbs would emerge
from their winter dormancy every spring to sparkle with
their vibrant, beguiling colours.
in and around the late 16th century tulips arrived in
Europe. They soon became de rigeur and a sign
of status in households both rich and poor. Botanists
began to hybridize them creating more and more exciting
forms. By late 1636 and early 1637 'Tulipmania' was
at its peak in Holland. The bulbs were so popular that
the most desirable varieties could cost more than a
house in Amsterdam at the time! The tulip craze lead
to a huge speculative market in tulips, one in which
ordinary men clammered to participate because of the
vast amounts of money being made. They sold their businesses,
family houses, farm animals, home furnishings and dowries
in order to buy bulbs that they had never seen. Eventually,
supply increased and the price of tulips plummeted.
The "Tulip Crash" sent many people into bankruptcy.
Others lost all of their savings. All because of the
tulip. The Dutch government then introduced special
trading restrictions in order to avoid further fits
of uncontrollable plant lust on the part of its population.
tulips are one of the most beloved of flowers and one
of the world's major commercial flower crops, both for
cut flowers and horticulture.
Botanical Tulips: Before the Dutch got to them,
before there were Darwin tulips, Triumph tulips, parrot
tulips and bouquet tulips, fringed and lily-flowering
tulips, peony-types and viridifloras, French and Kaufmanniana
tulips and all of the other large, bold and colourful
hybrids there were the species -- those small, beguiling
denizens of Asia with an allure and beauty all their
tulips are what tulips used to look like and still look
like in the wild. They are smaller in bulb size, height
and flower size than your standard spring tulips but
they are just as colourful and perhaps a little bit
more sophisticated looking more like a sparkling jewel
than a big brash boisterous flower.
tulips also offer something that the big hybrid tulips
don't: STAYING POWER. Whereas the hybrids will last
for a single year, maybe two, the botanical tulips are
perennial. They will return year after year and will
usually multiply with each passing season. Consequently,
they are great for naturalizing. They also work well
at the front of the border and in pots.
This year at Phoenix we are pleased to offer 20 different
species and varieties of botanical tulips. We hope you'll
be inspired to try some in your garden. Here is this
batalini 'Bright Gem'
T. 'Honky Tonk'
T. kaufmania 'Waterlily'
T. 'Lilac Wonder'
T. 'Little Beauty'
T. 'Little Princess'
T. 'Peppermint Stick'
T. praestans 'Tubergen Variety'
T. praestans 'Unicum'
T. pulchella 'Eastern Star'
T. clusiana 'Lady Jane'
T. clusiana 'Tinka'
T. humilis 'Persian Pearls'
T. 'Red Hunter'
to the Articles Page