TULIPS: FROM TURKISH TURBAN TO AMSTERDAM CANALSIDE HOUSE

Ah, Tulips! You’d think you can hardly get anything more Dutch, but the tulip is actually pure Iranian, pure Afghan and pure Kazakh. Nomads brought the colourful flowers to Turkey, where manly sultans started wearing a tulip on their turban. That’s how the flower got its name: ‘tulipan’ means ‘turban’.

ORIGIN

Nowadays, wild Tulips can be found growing wild from north Africa and southern Europe across to north-west China. The greatest diversity can be found in three mountain ranges in central Asia: the Pamirs, the Tian Shan and the Hindu Kush. Also in the Netherlands you see a lot of Tulips in people’s gardens.

Moreover, ever since the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) we have specalised in breeding and growing them on a large scale for commercial use. With cold Winters, long Springs with cold nights and a dry summer, the climate here is ideal for tulips. Tulips need a cold night and a cold winter in order to be able to grow, which is why they can’t be cultivated in a warm climate. That is how they sneaky developed into a Dutch trademark.


Photo courtesy Dutch Flower Council

SYMBOLISM

If you gave someone Tulip in the sixteenth century, you were giving them a fortune. At that time the flower was incredibly popular and a speculative trade in Tulip bulbs developed. You could buy a whole canalside house in Amsterdam for the price of one Tulip bulb in those days. A nice bunch of Tulips now costs just a couple of pounds, but the symbolism has gained in value. If you give someone Tulips, you’re also giving them a message. Hence red Tulips mean passionate love, and with black Tulips you’re saying: ‘I love you so much I will sacrifice everything for you.’ So don’t give those to just anybody.

COLOURS AND SHAPES

The ever-cheerful Tulip comes in white, red, yellow, pink, purple, orange, green or with multi-coloured petals. The shapes of the Tulip are also a feast for the eye. You can find them with a single or double row of petals, whilst there are also eye-catching fringed and parrot Tulips with serrated petals, and there’s the playful lily-flowered Tulip. Peony Tulips look like peonies, and French Tulips are exceptionally tall (unlike the average French mademoiselle) and have very large flowers.

BOUQUET RECIPE: BRING COLOUR TO JANUARY WITH TULIPS

It’s grey, cold and dark outside. Christmas is behind us, there’s no sun to warm you and you’re sick and tired of commuting in the dark. Get rid of the general downbeat mood with a spectacular Tulip bouquet bursting with colour in order to really wake things up.

You will need:

  • Tulip
  • Hyacinth
  • Daffodil
  • Viburnum
  • Briza media (grass)

Wrap up warm and brave the cold and ice to get to the florist. On your way, think about what colours could cheer up the mood at home. We’ve opted for a lively combination of orange Tulips with the blue and purple of Hyacinth and Viburnum, finished with delicately coloured Narcissi and grasses. Hello bouquet of cheerfulness!

IDIOSYNCRATIC BOUQUET

This bouquet packed with height differences looks best in a rustic vase. It doesn’t have to be neat and sleek, so is not a problem if the tulips continue to grow and develop some interesting twists.


On the left the Idiosyncratic Tulip Bouquet containing Tulip, Hyacinth, Daffodil, Viburnum and Briza media (grass). Photo courtesy Dutch Flower Council

AVAILABILITY

OZ Export has been a Tulip expert for ages as well. We know the breeders, the growers, the current varieties and novelties. Are you looking for a specific price, size, shape, colour or price range? Just ask your vendor at OZ Export to assist you finding the perfect deal for you.

Funny how flowers do that

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