January 31, 2011

Tulip – a signal to the start of spring

When it’s spring again I’ll bring again
Tulips from Amsterdam
With a heart that’s true I’ll give to you
Tulips from Amsterdam…

(Tulips from Amsterdam : Music by Ralf Arnie.  Words by Gene Martyn)

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the song ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’?

The tulip has come to be a loved symbol of Holland and many tourists visit the Keukenhof Gardens each year from March to May to admire them and other bulb flowers in full bloom.

To me, they very much signal the start of spring.

Below is an overview of the Tulip: –

What is the Latin name?
Tulipa

What is it commonly known as?
Tulip

What does it look like?
The most common tulip has a waxy goblet-shaped flower consisting of six petals, on a single stem with wide long leaves.  They are available in just about every colour, apart from blue.

More unusual types include fringed tulips, parrot tulips with serrated edges, lily-flowered tulips with pointed petals and double tulips with extra layers of petals (as shown in the photo above).

Also, there are French tulips, which have larger blooms and longer stems than the more common tulips.

When can you buy them?
They are normally available in the winter and spring.

Where can you buy them from?
Florists, supermarkets and garden centres.

How do you look after them?
Remove the foliage.  Cut the stems on a slant with scissors and place them in a clean vase with fresh water.

Be aware when using tulips in arrangements that once placed in water, they can grow up to 5cm.  They will also tend to lean towards the light.

Did you know?
There is a style of skirt, called a tulip skirt, the shape of which looks like an inverted tulip. Click here for an example.

Tulip mania or tulipomania was a period in Dutch history during which prices for tulip bulbs reached extraordinarily high levels.   Speculators began buying and selling tulips and making huge profits.

(Image : Rona Wheeldon for Flowerona)

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